Last week was “Electricity week”, starting with Western Power connecting the house to the mains. This involved tapping into the live mains which runs along the far side of the field. The house is too far from the mains to do the whole run as single phase, so the first part is done as a 3-phase connection. The photo shows the connection from the mains supply to a 3-phase wire.Electric JunctionThat hole only need a bit of water bailing out, but the connection from 3-phase to single phase had nearer 18inch of water so that was pumped out. Two days later Ecotricity turned up to put the meter in, so once the consumer unit is in we will be ready to power the house.

Later in the week Caplor Energy erected the PV solar panels on the roof. For the technically minded it is a 4kW system with Enphase micro inverters, held in place on Solion mounts. We will also have a Powerflow energy box which will divert any excess generated electricity which is not being used by the house into heating the hot water. The panels are neatly hidden by the parapet of the house, so that they are invisible from outside. Solar Panels

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Block Walls

Time for a bit of a general catch-up. The biggest difference internally has been the building of the block walls at the back of the living area. If all goes to plan these should act as a thermal mass and smooth out temperature swings. Block Walls
Siobhan, who is an Australian architectural assistant from Architype, has been visiting the site each week so as to get experience in how houses are constructed. She has written about her experiences on site on her blog and created this nice exploded diagram of the ground floor build of the house.Fishleys Diagram
The build also had a write-up on the Passivhaus Trust website. So welcome to new readers of our blog who have subscribed as a result of the article.
And finally sweeping the floor for the air test last week, showed that some-one had walked over the wet concrete, but was it Ella or next door’s small cat – Lillian.Paw prints

Air Test Day

Monday was an important day with the first air test on the shell of the house. The previous few days had been spent making sure all the joints inside and out were suitably taped
Inside Window
Outside Window
So on Monday, a blower was installed where the front door will go. The idea being that the blower blows air from inside to outside and this sucks the air from outside to inside if there are any gaps.Blower DoorAnd how do you tell if there are any gaps? Answer – by using incense sticks. We smelled very fragrant afterwards.IncenseThere are some more photos on George’s twitter feed at https://twitter.com/hashtag/fishleys

The results: 0.2 ach (air changes per hour) which every-one was very happy with. Apparently the Passivhaus standard requires less than 0.6, but our house will require less than 0.3 because of the number of windows. And that was including the cat flap.

And finally, Henry and Dan decided to play a joke on Mike by telling him that there was a big leak in the most awkward section of the ceiling where the pod meets the house.Air_Test_Leek

MVHR Installation

The Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery unit is a vital part of a passivhaus. With an airtight house you need a way for fresh air to get in, whilst at the same time not loosing the heat in the house. Ours is a Paul Novus 300 which sits in the coat cupboard by the front door. MVHR pipeworkWarm moist air will be extracted from the bathroom, shower room and the kitchen. This enters the unit via one of the silver pipes, warms up the incoming air and the goes to the outside world via one of the black pipes. Meanwhile fresh air is brought in through the other black pipe and after being warmed goes out through the other silver pipe around the house.

So there is a lot of ducting as each room has either an extraction or supply vent.
MVHR DuctingUpstairs the ducts come up through the airing cupboard and then into the two bedrooms. If you look closely to the left of the window where there is an upright post you can see the extraction vent for the bathroom. Looks rather like a periscope at the presentMVHR Upstairs

Insulating with Warmcel

This week has seen the rest of the house covered in the green OSB boards, whilst the Warmcel team started blowing the Warmcel into the gap between the inside and outside boards. The photo shows the hose through which the Warmcel is blown. The brown circles show where application still has to occur and the pale blue squares are the airtightness tapes put over the plugs which are inserted after filling.Warmcel FillingA lot as already gone in, but as you can see from the mountain of Warmcel bales there is still a lot more to go.Warmcel Mountain
It has not been all insulation this week as the stud walls have gone up marking the two upstairs bedrooms. Our first chance to get a feel for what a room will feel like.Bedroom Stud Walls
And finally, on Friday the Colwall Orchard Group came back and planted another dozen plum and apple trees.