What is ‘zero carbon’ or ‘carbon neutral’ construction?
Most of the energy used in buildings is to provide heating: around 75%. To move towards carbon neutrality one has to reduce the requirement for heating right down to the absolute minimum, whereby the building is insulated and draught proofed to a set of standards that mean that the heating demand is met largely by solar gain through windows and the passive heat emitted by appliances and people.
Even with the heating demand right down to a trickle, however, energy is still being used for appliances, lighting, and small amounts of heating and ventilation. To be ‘zero carbon’ the building must create zero net emissions of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. This can only be achieved when the building is generating its own renewable energy; thereby offsetting its emissions.
Which suppliers of garden buildings aim for zero carbon?
At present Energy Space Ltd is the only provider.
Some of the better quality garden buildings on the market aim for the thermal performance required by UK Building Regula- tions. Our buildings aim to exceed this standard, as explained in the following question.
What is included in the price?
Our prices include VAT, foundations, electricity connection to your house, delivery and full installation. Our competitors charge you extra for one or more of these items. When your options have been added, the price you pay is for a building that you can start using right away. The list below gives an overview of the standard specifications and options.
|Foundations||Pad foundations||Site clearance|
|Roof cladding||Ashfelt/rubber||Photovoltaics/ turf/ cedar|
|External wall cladding||Larch boards||Cedar/ oak/ Cor-Ten|
|Internal wall finish||Plaster skim, painted||Timber paneling|
|Internal floor||Bamboo engineered flooring||Hardwood/ tiles/ lino|
|Wall insulation||Rock wool batts||Hemp batts|
|Floor/roof insulation||Polyurethane rigid batts||Hemp batts|
|Shading||Canopy at entrance||Wrap-around verandah|
|Wiring||Sockets, lights, controls||Underfloor heating|
|Heating||Panel heater (electric)||Wood fired systems|
What about Planning Permission?
In most cases you will need Planning Consent if you live in a National Park, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Broads or World Heritage Sites. There are also some restrictions in Conservation areas. However, Planning Consent is usually not required if:
Our ‘L-Low’ range is designed at an overall height of 2.49 metres, thus avoiding the need for PP when building alongside a boundary. Our other buildings may require PP.
What about Building Regulations?
Garden buildings of up to 30 square metres are mainly exempt from Building Regulations. Two regulations do apply however to any size of garden building:
In some cases the second of these requirements can prove an issue where there is limited space to site a building within a small garden. In this instance we often specify a building that falls under 15 square metres (external perimeter).
If drainage runs are required for a shower, kitchen or toilet then we are required to make a Building Regulations application. This involves an additional fee.
What are the benefits of garden buildings?
The arguments for a garden office are convincing:
The Feed In Tariff: the UK Governments ‘clean-energy cash back’ scheme
This is the moment to invest in solar power. The Feed in Tariff (FIT) guarantees a rate of 41.3 pence per unit of sun produced power, whether you use it or not. In addition to this:
The details of the FIT were announced in February 2010. With this scheme, anyone generating their own energy is guaranteed a fixed rate for every unit (kilowatt hour) that they generate over a fixed term. The rates vary according to the generating technology, but the highest rate applies to solar photovoltaics (PV). A typical solar installation will give you a rate of 41.3 pence per unit generated, plus 3 pence per unit exported to the grid.
Energy Space is responding to this by expanding our ‘Z’ range of garden-sized solar power plants. The benefits of installing solar PV on our buildings are as follows:
The whole concept of working from home ties in very neatly with this scheme. Many people buying into the FIT will be out during the day and miss out on the free energy available during daylight hours, but those who run an office from home will make full use of it while collecting exactly the same level of income.
How do I order a building?
There are six clear stages leading towards a finished building.
For a more detailed understanding of the processes involved and the costs involved please click on the six step-by-step stages.
Once you have made initial contact through our enquiry form we will send a free initial estimate by email. If this estimate is approved, then the next step is the site survey and consultation.
The site survey can be arranged to suit you. It will take approximately one hour and has these key objectives:
If you are based more than one hours drive from the M25 we usually conduct the initial consultation by telephone and require images of the site to be sent to us via email or by post.
If the building you require is bespoke then the next step is to order a Draft Design. If not then the next step is the Final Contract and Schedule.
If your building is bespoke then a draft design will be generated. This will reach you within 5 working days of the initial consultation, either by post or email.
This allows you to visualize the proposed building in plan, front and side views. We do not charge for this service provided that we then go ahead with the construction. If we are only required to provide the design, this service will incur a one-off fee of £160.00.
If amendments are required they can be added to a Final Draft design free of charge.
Two hard copies of our Contract of Works, Schedule and Terms and Conditions are sent to you for approval.
One copy of the contract is then signed and sent back to us along with a cheque for the deposit of 25% of the contract. The deposit can be paid by bank transfer if you prefer.
When the deposit has cleared through our account the project becomes live. Orders are placed with our suppliers at this stage.
Around 10 days after the deposit has cleared construction will commence. A further payment of 50% will be required at an agreed mid-point, and a further 25% on completion of the project.
On completion of construction we will provide all relevant operating information for lighting, shading, ventilation systems, etc.
We can also provide details and prices of our full maintenance service on request.