44. The Empire strikes back


The roof is finished in style

16th September 2014


At the very top of our roof three dark sentinels guard the house. They look down over the solar panels, and roof windows, and perfectly fitted membrane, with some disdain. They are clearly the most stylish part of the ensemble.

George Lucas famously stole the chimneys of Gaudi's Casa Mila in Barcelona to define his galactic stormtroopers. I reckon there is potential for sci-fi inspiration here too (not that I'm expecting any visits from Holywood producers). 

Back on Earth these three mysterious shapes are actually heat-recovery ventilation cowls, designed and produced by Ventive. The Orchard has been designed to be incredibly air-tight in order to minimise our heat losses through uncontrolled ventilation (i.e. draughts). Our cowls will ensure that we still have a good supply of fresh air without losing too much heat. Fresh air is driven by the wind through the top and stale air is exhausted through the outlets in the centre of the cowl, driven by the buoyancy of warm air. These streams of air pass through a heat exchanger just below the cowl such that the cool fresh air is warmed up on its way down. It's a completely passive system, requiring no electricity or maintenance. Perfect for our ultra-low-energy, low-tech house (ok we do have some seriously advanced solar panels but that's about it).

Our roof is looking pretty cool and really quite finished, especially compared to the rest of the house which still looks like a big cardboard box. Fortunately the brickies will soon be here to move things along elsewhere.Our sleek sci-fi roof will soon be upstaged by seriously old-world, crafted finishes. Though I don't think our balding aliens will ever quite fade into the background.







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