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Our Grand Design in Montemboeuf, Charente, France


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Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe – Quelquefois, tout j’ai besoin est l’air que je respire

Air tightness test

Air tightness test

The results are in….

At the end of February we had an air tightness test. Achieving a good level of air tightness is important for the energy efficiency of the building.  The benefits of improved insulation and more energy efficient heating systems such as the ones was have installed would be lost if warm air leaked out of the building and cold air leaked in.  Too much air leakage can lead to unnecessary heat loss and possible discomfort, which anyone in the house would feel as draughts.   To carry out this test, the company arrived and fitted a temporary airtight screen to our front door.  They then mounted a big fan to the screen which blew air in to and out of our house so that they could create a pressure difference between the inside and outside of 50 Pascals.  To pass an air leakage test in England and Wales, a home must achieve an air permeability result of 10 m3/(h.m2).  By the end of our build we will hope to achieve 0.6 m3/(h.m2) which is far in excess of UK building regulations and is almost Passivhaus standard which is 0.2 m3/(h.m2.).  At the end of this interim test we would not expect to achieve our desired result, but doing a test at this stage would allow us to seal up any major leakages through the construction. It was all quite exciting on the day and as we waited for the results.  The results came in and….we achieved 0.8 m3/(h.m2). I think this far exceeded what Tom expected to achieve at this stage, so he was very pleased that when they ran the test again they attained the same results!

It’s all yours, The Hollies….

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Hope in the Air – l’espoir dans l’air

South facade and pergola

South facade and pergola

The scaffolding is down and the pergola is on its way to being finished – it has been a busy week on site!  The building is beginning to look like the original concept sketches that Tom did almost a year ago.

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We only have a week left in France before we head back to the UK.  There are still a few things that we need to sort before we go because we will not be back until Easter.  It is hard to choose tiles and flooring when you are not around to see them in the shop.  Still, this as finally been decided as has our hedging, decking and walling!

We have an air tightness test booked for next week as well.  Achieving a good level of air tightness is important for the energy efficiency of the building.  The benefits of improved insulation and more energy efficient heating systems are lost if warm air can leak out of the building and cold air can leak in. Too much air leakage can lead to unnecessary heat loss and possible discomfort in the house which you would feel as draughts. The test involves regulating air pressure inside the house.  They do this by fitting a temporary airtight screen to our front door.  They then mount a big fan to the screen which blows air in to and out of our house so that they can create a pressure difference between the inside and outside of 50 Pascals.  There is then some more complicated maths to do. To pass an air leakage test in England and Wales, a home must achieve an air permeability result of 10 m3/(h.m2).  We hoped to achieve 3 m3/(h.m2)! We’ll let you know how it goes.

Over to Laura…..