The Earth is hot at its core and this is how we must design and upgrade our domestic building stock in the light of the coming energy gap and limited resources including those of skills and time, to address the scale of the problem. Even new dwellings that comply with the requirements of 2006 part L, and the Code for Sustainable Homes as it it unfolds, need to be designed with this in mind.
To illustrate the chain of thought behind this statement let me give the example of the house we live in. Newly constructed just before the 2006 Part L changes, but with a high SAP rating of 93 but no Low or Zero Carbon features incorporated, it performs above possible expectation, primarily because of its southern orientation, but also because of its internal layout and the ability to isolate the ‘living core’
The living room and dining kitchen are facing south, maximising solar gain and all other rooms on the ground floor, can be isolated and not heated, when not needed. The valveless radiator at the bottom of the stairs, largely heats the upper floor apart from small towel rails.
The rising warmth has also eliminated any need for the tumble drying of clothes in winter.
We have an urgent need to improve the energy performance of existing dwellings also, and here the same thinking needs to be adopted to maximise the gain for the resources invested. Simply installing loft and wall insulation is not sufficient or possibly necessary, instead we have to ask, how do we keep hot at the core?
In many cases this might come down to educating the occupier in how to live effectively in an insulated and heated core.