Nathan Hollins and his father bought a set of barns, just West of Stafford near Seighford, to convert to two homes around three years ago, for their two families to eventually live in.
They hope to have the first house ready to move into later this year. They have done almost all the work themselves – both lots of research and the technical and practical work. They have considered the environment in many of their choices and the conversion is a good example of a variety of sustainable construction features.
Five sunpipes have been installed to bring in natural light and minimise the need for electricity use.
Posi-joists have been used across the buildings, instead of steel joists, which consist largely of wood. This has reduced steel consumption and negated the need to brinfg a crane onto the site.
Thermalite blocks have been used throughout, which have a high level of insulation. The insulation requirements required by Building Regs on submission of this application were exceeded and conform at least, to more recent new regs.
A multi-fuel burner will be installed to enable diversification in fuel choice, including wood, which is carbon-neutral.
Under floor heating will be installed in conjunction with a Ground Source Heat Pump system to be installed in adjacent grounds. All heating and hot water for the house will be heated using this system – with a payback period of around 5-7 years. A government grant was received towards the installation of the system.
Lots of thermostats will be fitted to enable more efficient heating according to need – in conjunction with widespread use of low energy light bulbs.
A rainwater harvesting system is being installed. This will collect water from across the building roof surfaces and will provide water to supply the toilet, washing machine and outdoor taps. It will be pumped into the roof space and will be gravity fed to destination.
A BioDisk system is in place to receive waste water. Bacterial breakdown of sewage results in water being sufficiently pure to discharge into the adjacent culvert (but is not potable).
Insulation in the roof is above the original standards stipulated.
Bricks and tiles used are all recycled (this was a planning condition, but the family would have chosen recycled materials in any case).
Original flooring (diary house and cow shed) was taken up and crushed for hardcore in the foundations – additional concrete surface materials from outside will be re-used on site or offered to local farmers etc
Granite blocks used as kerbs but are now replaced as part of current road upgrading have been acquired from Staffs County Council and have been laid as attractive block paving surface to the front and side of the property.
The resultant two homes will be something Nathan and his Dad and whole family will be proud of!