Our Mission is to give the home owner a cost effective Timber Frame building fabric that would include very low U-Values, Airtightness and everything needed for a low energy low cost home.
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What is driving more environmental, efficient and sustainable building practices?
• Ireland spends over €7 billion per year on energy, most of which is imported. We depend on imported oil for almost all of our transport energy needs and most analysts are predicting increased price volatility.
• In Ireland, ‘business as usual’ projections show Ireland’s energy-related emissions rising by over 60% in the period from 1990 to 2010.
• The Kyoto Protocol, keystone of the United Nations climate change programme, sets targets for nations to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. As part of that target, Ireland is to limit its net greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above 1990 levels in the period 2008–2012. As a signatory Ireland is determined to meet these new and challenging international obligations. As a result The Department of Public Enterprise (now the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources) set three principal energy policy objectives in its Statement of Strategy 2001–2004:
1. To ensure security of supply (energy)
2. To ensure environmentally sustainable energy production and consumption.
3. To develop a competitive supply industry.
Four main strategies are being pursued to achieve those objectives:
1. Diversification of energy supplies
2. Increasing energy efficiency
3. Increasing capacity from renewables.
4. Liberalisation of energy markets.
• The residential sector is responsible for 30% of CO2 emissions (1998) and 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
How can Timber Frame Help?
In many parts of the world, timber frame is the norm – an engineered and proven system. Over 70% of people in the developed world live in timber frame housing. In the USA and Canada it accounts for 90% of low-rise buildings. Timber frame is the most popular form of house construction in Scotland, thanks largely to its suitability for a cold climate where homes need to be able to be built fast, be very energy efficient and keep people comfortable throughout the year. Timber frame housing in England grew by 15% in 2005, compared to a 2.0% decline for all other methods of construction. Over half of all new social housing in the UK is timber frame- 58% in 2005.
Here is a list of some of the environmental and practical benefits of Timber Frame.
• Wood is an ecologically friendly. Timber absorbs CO2 as it grows and releases Oxygen! The carbon stored in the timber will not be released even when a tree has been harvested and processed into timber products.
• Wood is a renewable resource. We will never run out of trees! The more wood we use, the more our forests grow, because in Europe we are committed to planting more trees than we harvest. Every year our forests grow by over 3,500 square miles – equivalent to an area the size of Cyprus. Ktf only source timber from properly managed forests which are governed by bodies like FSC and PEFC.
• Mature trees absorb far less carbon dioxide and produce less oxygen than those at earlier stages of growth. So the harvesting of older trees for construction purposes, and their replacement with saplings - two planted for every one harvested in Scandinavian forests - ensures a constant cycle of CO2 absorption and oxygen production.
• For every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonne of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere. Compare this to Concrete which creates 1 ton of CO2 for every 1 ton of concrete produced.
• Timber itself is a good insulator against the cold.
• Wood has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Strength for strength, pine and spruce are 16 times lighter than steel and 5 times lighter than concrete
• Wood is a reliable and predictable building material.
• As timber frame houses are superior in their energy efficiency, less fuel is used to heat them, thereby reducing both emissions & heating bills.
• Given the unpredictability of future energy costs, building in timber frame is an investment you cannot afford to ignore. It will retain its market value, it will save money on fuel bills and it will ensure a good U- Value rating.
• Timber frame building costs are similar to less efficient traditional methods but you gain all these added benefits.
With the Sustainable Energy Act and The EU Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) Directive being adopted into law, Ireland now has a new national authority, Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), which has been established and tasked with steering the nation on a more sustainable development path. One of SEI’s main aims is to improving energy efficiency in all new and existing buildings.
Here is a list of positive steps that can be taken at relatively low cost!
1. We need to build more energy efficient homes and use more renewable materials in the construction process.
2. Improve the U-Value of your walls and ceilings. Extra Insulation is the simplest and most cost effective measure you can take. If you remember that the Total energy in = Total Energy Lost. The Goal is to greatly reduce the need for energy in homes. People spend large sums of money on heating systems without first insuring that the fabric of the house will hold in the heat once it is generated. You can have heating system on all day but if the house has a poor U-Value and is not airtight then the heat will escape nearly as quickly as you produce it.
3. Make our buildings Air Tight. The air tightness performance of a building can play a huge part in reducing heating requirements. The term itself - air tightness - is a somewhat confusing one – perhaps air control is more accurate. When we talk of air tightness, what we’re essentially speaking about is the elimination of draughts. The less cold air that we have to heat the better. Airtightness is absolutely essential in maximising the effectiveness of thermal insulation, ensuring vast savings over a lifetime. As well as door and window joints air also escapes through the fabric i.e. Walls & Ceiling, so it is important to have the whole house sealed!
4. Introduce Controlled Ventilation. Different strategies can be applied to maintain a good level of fresh air renewal without excessive heat losses. This ventilation may come from trickle vents in windows but in a low-energy or a passive house a controlled ventilation system with heat recovery is recommended.
5. Install efficient heating systems. Solar is a very efficient system for water and space heating. There are a range of products on the market but remember, the more efficient you make your house the less you will have to spend on heating and heating systems.