Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Story So Far

This blog is going to record the building of our passive house near Bratislava, Slovakia. We have a bit of catching up to do, as work has already started.

The concept
We aim to build a passive house. It will be super energy efficient, with thick, air-tight walls and a heat recovery ventilation/heating system. It will not have any conventional central heating. We aim to have solar panels to heat water, which will be backed up by an electric boiler. The windows will be triple glazed and mainly south facing in order to catch the warmth of the sun. Shutters and the ventilation system will keep the house cool in the summer. We will provide links to websites and more information on these things in future posts.

We bought our plot of 550 square metres plus 50 metres of road in March 2005. It is next to overgrown vineyards and a field path leading up to the hills and down to the village. A walking/bike path goes from the bottom of the road up into the hills where it links up with a cross country skiing "loipe" and other walking paths.

Road and utilities
A local developer has built the road and connections to utilities. Work started on these in Summer 2005 and the last part of the road was finished in November 2006.

Our architects are Bjorn (Norwegian) and Zuzana (Slovak) Kierulf. They own the company Createrra.

Bjorn and Zuzana worked on the plans for several months. They finalised the outline drawings in December 2005, and the detailed plans were submitted to the planning authorities (town council - "Mestsky Urad") in July 2006. Various experts (water engineer, electrician, structual engineer, ventilation expert, fire inspector) also added their parts to the plans.

Planning permission
We had outline planning permission to build a house when we bought the plot. Final planning permission was given in November 2006. It is relatively easy to get planning permission for new houses on new estates in Slovakia. Any style of architecture seems to be acceptable, and every house can be different.

Ground works
Bjorn has found a builder (Pavol Kotul) to do the ground works. His team cleared the land of the old vines and tree just before Christmas 2006. Work is now starting on the foundations and the laying of the underground pipes for the heat recovery ventilation.

Photos and more details will follow soon. Here are some links for now: