Touchwood Homes

The Touchwood Homes Ethos

In the early 1990s we realised the construction industry, like all aspects of modern industry, would have to undergo major changes in order to combat climate change, and that we could accomplish this by looking at means of energy conservation and reducing carbon emissions.Our first project to integrate the principles of Passivhaus into the design and build of a new home was in 1996 – and we’ve never looked back! 

We are committed to providing top quality air tight, super insulated timber frame homes that enable self-builders to create their own homes with minimal every day energy consumption. If the design meets the passivhaus standard (quantified by PHPP), then winter heating requirements for comfortable living can be met via a small heater battery within the MVHR system, so eliminating the need for a conventional central heating system entirely, and saving installation costs!

Our earliest Passivhaus certified builds

Howe Park

Fox Barn

Porters

Touchwood Homes's structural solutions to creating passivhaus homes

Our timber frames are all made from factory pre-cut “I beams”, which allow for any shape of building, and a fast build time. These are then externally sheathed with an air tight, solid TG fibre board over the entire structure, to provide a completely robust, long term air tight solution which is much more efficient than the traditional use of sticky tapes and membrane!

Foundation diagram

Insulation diagram

Eaves diagram

...and so in implementing these we have:

Effective insulation

Cellulose fibre insulation is pumped into the walls. Our substantial I beams structures are the only successful way to achieve necessary density of insulation material. Cheaper twin wall systems are difficult to install with cellulose fibre to the required density

Prevention of draughts

We cover the entire external surface of the build with our TG board, mastic sealed at all joints to form a long term robust air tight layer. We do not use cheap tapes and membranes.

Combated the issue of 'cold-bridging'

I beams have only the 9mm web passing through the structure, so minimal cold-bridging occurs.

Our non-panalised build system has huge advantages over conventional builds, due to the fact that when the frame is completed your follow-on trades can get get straight to work on installation of their first fix wiring and plumbing, directly within our I beam walls and ceilings, thus avoiding the time consuming and costly phase of creating a service void around all interior walls. It also avoids first fix works becoming mixed up with an internal airtight layer. The electrician on our Hennerwood project commented that his works took just 3 weeks to complete, instead of 8 weeks on another newbuild project comprising of an internal air-tight barrier where he had to constantly reseal with tape any penetrations to the layer.

Our system also allows us to build to any design, there is not the limitation of trying to constrain a design into transportable panels, giving us freedom to do curved walls, crown roofs and any other feature your design may have.

  • I was new to the concept of Passivhaus houses but after much research I decided that it made sense or our new home to be built to this high standard of energy efficiency. We chose Touchwood homes, who  explained to us that their robust rigid external air-tight layer system, unlike  traditional sticky tape membrane systems, would not only guaranteee a passivhause degree of air-tighness but would also, for the slight increase in initial costing, save me a fortune on the cost of follow-on trades who would have otherwise have to work around flimsy internal membranes. As a result I have seen for myself how quickly and efficiently the plumbers and electritians have been able to complete their work and how much time and money this has saved me already!

    Paul

    Hennerwood Passivhaus
  • We have been astonished by the performance of the house…with cellulose fibre insulation Installed to test densities of 70 and above. Our son who is a commercial building energy assessor used his thermal imaging camera to check the installation and was unable to find even the smallest area which was not filled over the entire house.

    Colin

    Higher Pytte Cottage, Devon
  • I am glad that they [Grand Designs] covered your timber frame so well, such a beautiful example of what can be done with wood – I am so pleased that we chose you for the job and I am more than happy to recommend your services.

    Peter

    "Roundhouse", Milton Keynes
  • We have now been living in our house for 5 months and it is a revelation – why are all houses not built to this standard?! What’s most surprising is the ‘stillness’ of the house, no drafts, exceptionally quiet and clean controlled air distribution, makes for a very relaxing place to be. Passivehaus is the future of building and the Touchwood team did an excellent job with our beautiful new home

    Ben

    Weyhill, Hampshire

To complement the air-tight well insulated structure of your home, it is vital that the building’s foundations are laid to minimalise thermal bridging from the grounds surface and so compromise the overall efficiency of the home.

The build efficiency of our homes ensures that  cold air and dampness cannot permeate the walls, roof or foundation, but if the windows and doors are substandard, then your home will not perform so well. 

The advantages of living in a Touchwood Homes ‘air-tight’  home

  • No conventional central heating system needed, saving substantial construction costs, and of course running costs.
  • Minimal heating demand so very low heating bills – it is common for the MVHR system to supply all required heating via 2kW heater
  • Stable internal air temperature from heavy weight insulation (typically 6-8 tonnes of insulation / house).
  • Foundation slab inside the thermal envelope so is all used as thermal mass
  • Excellent air quality from MVHR unit supplying house with constant filtered fresh air
  • No cold draughts inside the home due to air-tight construction
  • Very quiet, calm internal space from super dense Cellulose insulation and triple glazed windows