Self-build homes are completely individual, designed to fit into the homeowner’s lifestyle and budgets. But, while individual requirements change from one self-builder to another, one thing which nearly always appears in the brief is the desire for the new home to be thermally and energy efficient. We work closely with David Hilton, Director at Heat and Energy Ltd to deliver performance technologies and heating systems, so we’ve put David in the ‘hot’ seat this month.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m passionate about low energy and renewable technologies and building healthy energy efficient homes. I’ve worked in the industry for over 35 years, so I have extensive knowledge in the most sustainable building fabrics and heating systems. I have a Master’s degree from the University of East London in Sustainable Architecture (Advanced Energy and Environmental Studies) and I am fully qualified as a Gas Safe, Renewables and ventilation installer.
I’ve been the sustainable building expert at Grand Designs Live exhibitions, and I am also a member of the Gloucestershire Design Review Panel.
I can often be found at The National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon or at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows across England speaking at seminars and workshops.
What does Heat and Energy Ltd offer to self-builders?
We’re based in Swindon but work on projects all across England and Wales. We work with architects, house builders and suppliers, such as Frame Technologies, to know the client and their intended lifestyle patterns. It’s vital we understand how people want to live in their home as we can then suggest the best products and building integration methods for their new home. For example, due to the pandemic, people are using their homes differently and we’ve seen more briefs this year for at least one workspace in a client’s home. We’ve come up with innovative ways to have flexible spaces suitable for both living and work.
We discuss the options and benefits of choosing certain products, and explain how clients can get best value from their home by choosing one building material and method over another. For example, timber frame offers very good heating and performance options. Timber is precise and you can guarantee energy performances more as it’s not as open to inconsistencies like other building materials.
How long have you been working with Frame Technologies and Simon Orrells?
Heat And Energy Ltd has been operating since 2016 and together with Frame Technologies we’ve consulted on over 20 projects.
Energy efficiency is at the core of everything we do and we explore ways we can optimise this in a timber frame. Together with Frame Technologies we incorporate appropriate energy efficient heat recovery ventilation, renewable and conventional heat and energy systems into the build. We look at conventional heating systems, and also heat pump technologies, solar systems and biomass.
What benefits do you see in using timber over other building materials?
Timber not only delivers energy–efficient homes but it also has a low environmental impact as a material. One of the main benefits of building with timber frame is its speed of build. Most of its manufacture takes place offsite, so it not only keeps the site cleaner but it also means it’s installed faster on site. Another plus is that the building gets watertight much faster – and we all know this is a major advantage with the temperamental British weather!
Do you have any advice for self-builders?
Do your research and get advice early. The benefits of doing this can be heard from Frank & Pauline Mace for their new self-build home, Tanglewood. Speaking to us in the very early stages of their project, they were able to get an understanding of what was possible for their build. From our recommendations and expertise they’ve been able to complete their ideal home with all the latest technology in energy efficiency and thermal performance levels.
If you’re unsure what building materials or thermal performance you want your new home to have, we can talk you through the options available. You can save time and money by making sure you know exactly what you want and always think of the end product – I always say that changing your mind on your project half way through can be costly, so ensure your project plan is in place from the get-go.
Along with Ruth Reed, David from Heat and Energy Ltd will be one of our main speakers at our inaugural Frame Technologies event on 1 May 2021 at the NSBRC. For more information keep an eye on our Events page.