We’re delighted that one of our latest projects has featured in “Permaculture International” magazine. (1)
Designed by architect Janna Laan of of Grain Archeitecture, Silk Services built an extension to a cottage in brick and flint, with external timber cladding. The brick and flint walls were constructed using breathable, eco-friendly lime mortar.
In line with eco-building principles that use natural, recyclable materials at every stage, the foundations were not made using poured concrete. Instead, firm foundations were created using compacted aggregate with a top layer of limecrete.
In her article, Jenna explains how the use of alternative materials for foundations are not usually considered:
“Many people still use concrete in their eco-build foundations because they’re told it’s the only option. You can usually avoid concrete by using a foundation of compacted aggregate, limecrete, gabions or even rammed car tyres.”
These options significantly reduce the use of ‘high energy embodied’ materials such as cement, as Jenna explains:
“For every tonne of cement that is made, approximately 1tonne of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Combine this with the statistic that concrete is the second-most consumed substance on the planet after water, and the construction industry has an alarmingly significant environmental impacts. There are times when materials like these are required; however, domestic scale buildings there is almost always a more eco-friendly alternative.”
Jenna’s article is a fascinating look at the whole ‘eco building’ ethos, and how the focus is not just on energy efficiency and sustainability once the building is built.
Instead, she goes right back to first principles, suggesting the use of natural materials that are readily available, require little or no processing, and can even be recycled or composted after use. These include clay, rock, sand, wood, chalk (for cob), hemp and straw. Combining this approach with good design can lead to a much reduced impact on the environment.
“Passive design can mean a building uses much less energy day-to-day, as well as cutting down hating, water and electricity bills. Efficient buildings are well adapted to their surroundings, and therefore respond better to changes in an already extremely volatile climate.”
Silk Services, naturally
At Silk Services, we love working with natural materials, from traditional flint for walls to durable oak for our hand-built kitchens. We also enjoy working with architects and designers such as Jenna to create buildings that work well for their owners, their surroundings, and the environment.
We also very much enjoy helping home owners make the most of their existing home. We specialise in building extensions of all shapes and sizes, from elegant front porches to sleek contemporary kitchen extensions. No two homes are precisely the same, even new builds, so we very much enjoy being part of the design and build process to ensure what we do is right for you, your home and your family.
A Hampshire company
We’re a family firm based in the Hampshire countryside just a few miles from Alton, so we understand both rural and urban projects from our own experience. If you have a building project that requires our personal and experienced touch, give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk through all types of projects, including building, landscaping, kitchen extensions and property renovations.