top of page

The fossil fuel industry will inevitably find ways to lower prices and increase sales and so the current crisis in maintaining the comfort and utility of existing dwellings and community buildings may pass. Nevertheless, the sudden unaffordability for energy for domestic use has increased interest in a Low Energy agenda for Dwelling and Meeting. This project shown here is a Cornish Farmyard built in local brown granite. The 120 m.2 Cowshed has a small upper storey gallery and bedroom and 2 ground floor bedrooms, The 90 m.2 Bull shed has an upper floor bathroom and 2 ground floor bedrooms and the 28m.2 Pig Shed ( previously 3 pig sties ) a single room that will sleep 4. The 25m.2 Muck Shed in the centre of the Farmyard is used communally and is unheated. Despite the use of biomass as background space and hot water heating the three dwellings used 5000 kWh between Nov’22 and Mar’23 down from 7.000 kWh for the same period the previous year when a newborn baby was in residence but daytime electricity was 1/3rd. the price.

The interior of the Cow Shed showing the North-facing sliding doors to the lawn the biomass boiler stove that heats a 300 litre. heatstore and underfloor heating network. The home office gallery can be seen above the kitchen table with its ‘paddle’ stair access. There are two bedrooms on the ground floor and another beyond the gallery. The floor, walls and roof soffites were all finished in timber planks on polyisocyanurate insulation boards to above Building Regs standards in 2015. Their performance is disappointing relative to the later Bull Shed which has additional layered foil insulation and is more airtight as a consequence of having plastered walls and ceilings.

The interior of the Bull Shed showing the plastered walls and double insulated flue to the biomass boiler that is a more than adequate space heater for the main room. Because of its enhanced insulation, lower volume and glazed areas and better airtightness the Bull Shed is easier to heat using mostly night-rate electrical energy for space and hot water heating during the winter. For much of the year solar hot water heating is adequate without supplement.

The Farmyard’s Pig Shed has a volume of 60m.2 i.e. 1/17th of the volume of the Holyrood shed -yet it has a heat demand scarcely 50% of the Holyrood shed. The comparison is a stark illustration of the greater thermal efficiency of deep plan multi-storey dwellings.

bottom of page