Bring on the sunshine…

Recent progress at St Ives has seen the installation of the photovoltaic (pv) panels on the south facing roof of the new porch. The original plan was to display a much larger array of panels giving 2.2kw peak, but following a structural survey, it was advised that the existing main roof structure would not be able to take the weight without extra reinforcements. If you’re considering retro-fitting pv panels or solar thermal hot water panels on your roof, always ensure that the structure is sufficiently strong enough to support the additional weight. Installers will be able to advise you on this. It is important to use an accredited installer, who will also ensure priority is given to health and safety aspects and will handle the panels appropriately without causing any damage. Our panels have been kindly supplied to us at a discounted rate by Aran Services Ltd. Visit

For further information and a list of acrcredited installers visit or It’s also advisable to seek advice on planning permission from your local council. Although it is generally no longer necessary to obtain planning permission, there are some circumstances where it is still required, ie if your property is in a conservation area.

Since our last update, progress on site has included the plastering and skimming of the internal walls throughout. The Dimplex ‘SmartRads’have been installed ready for the new heating system with the air source heat pump – the base for which has been laid in the rear garden in preparation for the installation. SmartRads are different to ordinary radiators in that they have an integral fan, which assists with air flow – each radiator has its own individual control panel so they can be set to suit individual rooms and spaces. For further information on ‘SmartRads’ visit Dimplex Renewables. Dimplex has also supplied the solar thermal hot water collectors. These have been positioned on the south facing roof of the new extension — further connection and internal works for this will be carried out soon.

The high performance triple glazed windows, provided by Eurocell, have been installed throughout the main house and the new extension. Eurocell’s windows are recognised as being extremely durable, low-maintenance and energy efficient. With recent advances in recycling, their UPVC windows have now achieved the highest rating possible in the latest Building Research Establishment (BRE) Green Guide to Specification (June 2008). Eurocell’s windows have also achieved a high rating for thermal efficiency from the British Fenestration Ratings Council.

On to the green roof now, where the unique PDT Waterproofing membrane called Resitrix has been laid onto the single storey extension. Resitrix is ideal for green roof applications and has kindly been supplied to us by PDT-Group. The material itself has many green credentials. It contains no chlorines or plasticizers and will not shrink with age. It is also rot proof, frost proof and fully elastic – the perfect base for our green roof. For more information on PDT Waterproofing membrane Resitrix, please visit

The garden is progressing well with Marney Hall and her team of experts. The allotment beds have been designed into separate vegetable and salad gardens, with a wide variety of plants. The green house and shed are erected and in place. The pond is taking shape, with its gradual slope covered up by strategically placed rocks and plants specially designed to encourage wildlife. The patio area, supplied by Stonemarket, with its interesting and novel designs will be laid shortly.

Next steps at St Ives include the installation of the air source heat pump and associated works, the rainwater harvesting tanks, Heating Saves’ energy management system, Sky Garden’s green roof and Pocket Habitats, connection of the solar thermal and pv panels, permeable paving on the driveway… and more…. keep up to date by visiting us regularly… and don’t forget to post any comments or questions you may have!

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