Magdalene Farm- The Next Generation!
Clive Elsdon Building Design is pleased to announce that they have obtained Planning Approval for the refurbishment of a derelict farmhouse near to Woodland, County Durham, on behalf of their client, Katey Wallace. The proposals for this former farmhouse on the family run Magdalene Farm will provide accommodation for Katey & her Partner and re-use the majority of an existing stone structure once occupied by past generations of her family.
The work will include stabilising and refurbishing the existing two storey farmhouse which currently has no floors, roof, windows or doors. Existing single storey extensions which formed a byre and additional living accommodation will be demolished. A new two storey side extension and single storey rear extension will be constructed on their footprint plus a single storey side extension will be added to the other end of the house to house a wood pellet boiler and fuel store. This renewable heat source is just one of many sustainable and renewable technologies which will be incorporated into the development.
A Traditional Look
In our previous article on this project (Click Here) we advised that traditional materials would be used in both the refurbishment of the existing building and in the construction of the extensions. This of course remains the case, with many period features including sliding sash timber windows, traditional timber doors and a reclaimed slate roof to both the existing Farm House and the new extensions.
However, behind the external traditional image and below the ground will be a different story!
The High-Tech Wood Pellet Boiler with its Archimedean Screw Pellet Feed System is joined in its effort to cut running costs and use sustainable fuel by a ground source heat pump and solar panels plus a revolutionary (Pardon the pun!) bat & bird friendly Wind Turbine.
Wood pellet boilers are an environmentally friendly, safe and convenient way of heating the home, using wood pellets as fuel. They differ from traditional solid fuel boilers as the units are fully automatic and behave more like an oil or gas boiler, using advanced controls which cleverly regulate the amount of fuel being delivered to the burner to match the demand. The fuel is fed to the burner via an auger connected to the adjacent pellet store or hopper. This hopper or store can, in turn, be supplied automatically from a bulk pellet store of varying sizes.
Providing the pellets are obtained from a sustainable source this method of heating is environmentally friendly. We intend to produce an article about wood fired heating systems in the near future. When we do, we will add a link here.
Whilst the boiler is burning an environmentally friendly fuel in the form of Wood pellets, the proposals go further, with the use of a ground source heat pump to supplement the heat provided by the boiler itself. This will help reduce the amount of fuel used by the boiler and therefore make further savings on the running costs.
Heat from the ground is absorbed at low temperatures into a fluid inside a loop of pipe (a ground loop) buried in the ground. The fluid is passed through a compressor which raises it’s temperature. It is then used to heat water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house. The cooled ground-loop fluid passes back into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process as long as heating is required.
In this case it is intended to lay the loop either flat or coiled in trenches about two metres deep, but if there is was not enough space it can be installed as a vertical loop down into the ground to a depth of up to 100 metres.
One down side to heat pumps is that they need some electricity to run, however other renewable resources planned for this project should counter both the expense and environmental impact usually connected to electricity.
Even in County Durham the sun can provide power. The proposals approved in the planning application include Solar Panels on the south facing roof of the refurbished farm house.
Solar energy is a tried and tested power source that is already used for many commercial, industrial and domestic applications. It works by transforming the energy from the sun into a reusable form of electricity, a process known as Photovoltaic (or PV for short). The Solar panel acts as a collecting tray catch the sun’s rays. The energy collected is then stored for in a battery for future use. The panel may collect more energy than is actually needed so a voltage regulator is fitted to control the flow of energy and prevent battery damage.
Solar energy is a low maintenance, long lasting, cost-effective and reliable energy supply.
The exposed nature of this site and its prevailing winds makes it a highly suitable location for a wind turbine.
Wind turbines are actually a simple concept based on old science. The inherent kinetic energy in moving wind spins the turbines blades which are connected to a rotor hub. This rotor spins a central shaft via a gear box, which increases the rotational speed of the shaft. The shaft then in-turn spins a generator which makes electricity through electromagnetic induction. This electricity can be stored in batteries for later use or sent out to the National Grid.
In order for a wind turbine to be effective and efficient, they should be mounted as high as possible in areas where the average wind speed is above 10 miles per hour.
All the renewable and sustainable energy resources would not amount to much without some serious upgrading of the existing structure and the new extensions being built to modern standards.
Insulation will be added to the inside of the walls of the existing farm house. This will bring it almost to a modern standard of insulation, limiting heat loss through the walls. The new windows, whilst traditional in appearance will incorporate double glazing and efficient draught sealing to ensure that heat loss through them and because of draughts is limited. The existing floor, where it still exists will be taken up and replaced with an insulated floor to a modern specification. The new roof structure will also be insulated to a high standard, most likely to be above those laid down by the current building regulations. New walls will be constructed to fully comply with the building regulations and robust detailing, ensuring minimal heat loss through them.
Together with heat and energy, the remote location makes a sustainable drainage system with potential for grey water recycling, on site treatment systems and soakaways etc. more an essential component than a green option.
The approved plans include a soakaway system for deposal of any surface water not harvested in other ways and a Klargester BiodiscTreatment System for the “other” waste water that needs treating.
Renewable technologies don’t come cheap, and it is envisaged that it may not be possible to install all of those proposed immediately. In order to allow a staged installation of the renewable resources, the initial works will incorporate all the infrastructure required for each one, such as ducts below the ground, concrete foundations for the wind turbine, connecting points for the ground sourced heat pump etc. etc.
It is hoped that, once all the renewable & sustainable technologies are installed and working the house should be very cheap to run, using only small amounts of imported energy. The size of the Pellet Store is critical, to ensure that these can be bought in appropriate bulk quantities to achieve good rates. When the house is not using the energy created by the renewable sources, in particular the wind and solar powered electricity, it is hoped that these will be fed back into the National Grid, which will earn the occupants money, shortening the pay back period on the technologies.
Comments & Questions Welcome
Please feel free to add any comments or ask questions. If you would like Clive Elsdon Building Design to look at your refurbishment project, or any other Domestic or Commercial Architectural Design work please contact us by e-mail to design at cliveelsdon dot co dot uk (replacing the words “dot” with the appropriate symbol), or by any of the methods on our contact page.