The Studio at Danygarn

Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 at 4:04 pm

The practice moved into its purpose built studio at Dan-y-Garn in the summer of 2008, having been designed by the practice and partly built by Julian, together with direct labour. In the form of a double height barn, with a mezzanine loft floor, the studio is open plan and provides work space for up to four to five people.

Designed in engineered “I” beam studs and Masonite rafters produced from Scandinavian soft wood and 8 mm Masonite (the original proprietary name for hardboard) the walls and roof are 300 mm deep with full fill Warmcell 500 recycled cellulose fibre insulation. The whole construction is to near Passiv Haus and Code 6 standards, and is extremely airtight while being ‘breathable’ to allow water vapour migration.

The building was built with a 100 mm dense concrete floor slab incorporating a ‘wet’ underfloor heating system intended to be connected to the LPGas fired system boiler, serving the adjacent house, via an underground insulated heat main connection. But moving in the Studio late in 2008, the building was found to retain heat extremely well from passive solar gains, from waste heat from the necessary task lighting and computer use, printers etc., and from its occupants to such an extent that the underfloor heating has never been connected and during the winters of 2009 and 2010 – two of the coldest and longest in recent history – it has only been necessary to use a small 1 kw electrical fan heater alongside the main doorway, turning on automatically, once the background temperature drops below 17<sup>0</sup> to 18<sup>0 </sup>when the door is opened for too long. A full electrical energy consumption assessment, Co2 emissions, a SAP rating and Passive House assessment have been carried out to quantify the subjective assessment that this building has even better than expected thermal performance for a volume equivalent floor area of 48m2. It is calculated that the average yearly running costs including 4 computers, printers, photocopier, lighting and supplementary space heating, has been less than £300.

The roof is clad in natural blue grey slate with painted timber fascias, slate and painted timber verges and black half round powder coated galvanised steel guttering and down pipes by Lindab. The walls are clad in vertical board on board Western Red Cedar sawn boarding, left untreated to weather naturally to grey. Windows are painted timber with double glazed Argon filled units with Sup Loft Low E coating internally. Presently the building can be ventilated naturally, even in the winter, however once the internal wc shower room is finally commissioned a single room heat recovery ventilation system will be installed.

Lighting is principally by low energy CFL or second generation LED lamps (dimmable, each lamp consuming between 7 and 9 watts, with a total working illumination load of just 120 watts! The building also has an extremely low embodied energy for its size, superseding the first three production office units at Dyfi Eco Park, which Davies, Langdon and Everest, Energy Assessors claimed were the lowest embodied energy office buildings in the whole of Wales. 2.1KWpeak of photovoltaic electrical generation covering the southern roof pitch has been installed to benefit from the Feed in Tariff scheme, This generation is scaled to at least provide all the annual electrical requirements of the office to allow the building to claim to be fully ‘carbon neutral’.