My Victorian Conservatory Project
With the constant need to reduce energy I am in the process of developing a passive heating system for an old Victorian Greenhouse or conservatory. I will be posting various snippets of information on this web site as the project progresses.
In the aerial picture it is just possible to make out the 10m high Cotswold stone wall running left to right, which was the original kitchen garden wall of the large house. After its demise as a family home in the early 1900’s through death duties, the house served in a variety of different government and commercial roles from the 1stworld war to the 1970’s when is was converted into a number of apartments. The outbuildings were also converted and sold. The “potting shed” to the north of the wall dates from the same mid Victorian period as the conservatory and green houses. The original green houses attached to the wall were demolished and a poorly constructed breezeblock building replaced them. The old and new parts of the house join together through a number of doorways in the internal wall to make our house. A bit of a challenge!
During the conversion of the greenhouses to a house the iconic conservatory was left in place. While to lean-to green houses where demolished the conservatory or orangery was left intact. Originally there were two large tanks in the floor. They were probably used for rainwater collection. The developer must have thought it was a good idea to combine to the tanks together and make an indoor swimming pool. Sounds fantastic but as the pool was un-insulated and the vagaries of the UK climate meant that the pool was suitable for little more that 6 weeks a year.
After several years of happy but minimal use it was decided to fill in the pool and reuse the massive space as a conservatory. Using the pool was both time consuming and expensive with all the chemical that were consumed and the amount of time spent sweeping to pool and checking the chemical. The sided of the pool had been built up at the side on the conservatory by about 750mm. The initial idea was to remove this material and bridge to pool with concrete beam to produce a large rain water recovery tank. After starting to demolish the sides it was soon clear that a huge quantity of waste material was going to be created and site access problems meant that removal by skip was impossible.
Inside after the pool sides demolished.
A rethink of the method led to the filling in of the pool with the spoil and the construction of a solid floor. Part of the design was to incorporate an underfloor heating system within the finished floor connected to coils of pipe in the rainwater recovery tanks as a heat sink as part of an interseasonal heating system. The loss of the rain water tank was a bit of a blow. Undeterred I decided to incorporate the coils of pipe at the base of the old pool. Puncturing the waterproof surface in a number of places before backfilling.
coils for heat storage
The floor was constructed with 150mm of high performance with a 150mm steel reinforced concrete base. Attached to the reinforcing mesh were 3 circuits of REHAU 25mm XLPE underfloor heating pipe at 150mm centres. The final surface is terrain ceramic floor tiles.
To see the up to date data follow link.