With highly insulated high thermal mass structures, all energy generated on site, all water collected on site, and greywater processed on site for re-use we are working towards a positive impact on the environment to run our lodges day in day out. Our construction methods will capture more carbon than they consume, ensuring this will be amongst the most sustainable accommodation to build and run in the UK.
The topsoil will be separately put aside, and subsoil dug out for the foundations, pool and thermal store. The clay and deeper sand will be stored for the build, and after it’s lined the thermal store will be piped and backfilled. To complete the earthworks the topsoil will be reinstated and used to level the site.
The clay and sand will be stored and dried in polytunnel structures. The clay will be crushed and sieved. The clay and sand can be mixed in advance, with lime and water added before use. The mix proportions must be consistently controlled and tested.
With the support of the local community and business we plan to reuse a substantial amount of material that would otherwise end up in landfill. This includes hundreds of cubic metres of subsoil that will be used for rammed earth walls, clay plasters and extensive cob and compressed earth block walls around the site. Each lodge garden will feature a cob oven for outdoor cooking. Our catalan ceilings will need 1200m2 of tiles but we aspire to using our subsoil to make stabilised compressed earth tiles if testing is successful. Reclaimed timber and insulation will be used where possible, together with stones and any scrap materials that can be used creatively for example in landscaping artistic installations.
Subsoil clay and sand will be excavated on site and stabilised with natural hydraulic lime to create 300mm thick inner walls, height 2.7m. These require no further finishing and leaves walls with beautiful wavy layers in subltle colour variations. The insulated high thermal mass structure acts as a thermal battery, collecting heat in the day and releasing it at night. This gives a near constant internal temperature with no artificial space heating. Reinforced eco-concrete plinth and ring beam provide robust support top and bottom.
This provides the means to construct a high thermal mass ceiling that has strength to support its own weight, with no concrete. The bedroom and bathroom ceilings will be a collection of 1.5m wide vaults supported between structural beams, which will be a composite steel and timber. The lounge area will feature a stunning single vault. The vault structural geometry is about 1:10 height to width, constructed in 3 layers of tile with mortar interlayers. The lower layer of tiles is set longitudinal, the middle layer at 45° and the top layer 135°. Above the vault corners are filled with a further mass of tamped stabilised earth. The vaults are topped by beaded insulation and roof covering.
A rammed earth floor willl be laid for a firm base for the construction phase. After construction we will lay a finishing Tataki tamped earthen floor made from sand, clay, lime & calcium chloride, laid 100mm thick in 3 tamped layers, then sealed with 5 coats of sun-dried linseed oil and waxed top coat. Radiant underfloor heating piping is installed within the floor mass. Floor tiling is used in wet and heavy use areas.
The locality has a long history of brick and tile making. Having fired a lump of clay dug straight from our subsoil, the result was a satisfying block of deep red. We now have an electric kiln and pugmill so will experiment with clay/sand mixes to make our own bricks and tiles for selected features.