New build house - orientation

Blimey, a bit overkill for an appliance not drawing much power, swimming pool pumps pull more than that and are usually just plugged in.
If there was a fire, without knowing the full details of the exact cause thats just conjecture to fit around a telling off.

A heat pump for a swimming pool needs a dedicated circuit.

A normal pump….I dont know……but I would.

Dedicated circuits are fantastic things. Makes life so much easier and of course safer.

That’s a sweeping statement. Depends on what is connected. I see little benefit apart from isolation from nuisance tripping caused by an appliance on another circuit. Surely the main requirement is the ELCB which could be missing in an older house.

Be good to hear from one of our electrical experts.

Perhaps, but there is convenience and safety.

VMC……dedicated circuit. I can turn the rest of the house off when I go away and leave it running. Same with the electric gate.

Burglar alarm, home surveillance, wifi. The list is endless.

You are begining to state the bleeding obvious, heat pumps pulling anywhere from 2.5kw up to 5-6 kw would obviously need their own dedicated cable run, the point and whilst it is part of the regs is a pellet stove (small domestic) has a fan and feed screw to run which is low power. The problem with hard and fast regulations is they would also encompass big pellet stoves used in large buildings so they probably wrote the regs with that in mind rather than a small domestic unit. The risk is overloading ( causing excess heat) of the wiring and that clearly will not happen with the sort of small appliance pellet stove we are talking about.

You are tripping individual breakers each room is on its own breaker so you just leave on the ones you want and due to the possibilty of lightning strikes etc un-plug appliances you want to protect.

Im sure the guy who invented the regulation had very good reasons for doing so.And personally I really don’t care what they are. I just follow the rules.

The point is, that when doing renovations in France you follow the rules. Otherwise it will come back and haunt you. More often with insurance or when you try to sell your house.


Yes I am not saying you shouldnt follow the rules, you do have to but as to whether the person who wrote the regs is knew what they were doing is a whole new question. In the pool world in France stupid regulations that are correct for a large municple pool are plain daft for a small domestic pool.

I am happy to look closely into specs and their reasoning and many times they are over the top but in a world where many havent a clue you have to write regs for the lowest common denominator. Make something idiot proof and nature will produce a better idiot!


But it is what it is. And life is too short worrying about it.

I have not met one person in 25 + years in France who thinks right hand priorties are a good idea. Not one. Not one single person.

Someone came up the idea and it has been here ever since. But everyone knows is stupid.

But it is what it is.

Interesting turn of phrase, care to explain it?

To use the full quote.

Not…a…good idea.

I broke my glasses the other day and I am for eye test very shortly.

I couldn’t write before now it is near impossible.

Yep, you can add me to that list… such a ridiculous law. I’m sure I’ve said it before but when I become President then it’s the first law I’m repealing.

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Yes the law is very silly, but worse than that, so many people, native French at that, simply do not use it so you have to be doubly on your guard. I always behave as if the person I see from my left is going to ignore it, that way you will always be safe. :smiley:


Its difficult to assess orientation without a specific site location in mind. View and surrounding buildings affect where you generally put larger windows. When I was training, I was told that in ancient times, Chinese architects would live on site through the seasons for a year before designing a home… now one can use free software (Sketchup) to download a 3D model of a specific site, and do a sun study (ideally at least the solstices and an equinox) to get many of the same insights. I used to teach our UG students to do this as a preliminary before they started designing, along with other site analysis. I would be happy to give more details if wished. (I also use a paid for add on to Sketchup called Placemaker which generates surrounding buildings in 3D, to get a better idea of where they cast shadows on the site, or block key views).
I had a look at the AmiBois website, and the video on their factory Présentation de l'usine Ima Bois - YouTube They appear to be constructing timber stud panels on an OSB base, and then laying rolls of insulation between the studs before applying vapour barriers etc. I cannot see anywhere where they specify what the insulation material is, but they emphasise the sustainability of their modular buildings. I think the limiting factor is the size of the studs, which don’t seem to allow big thicknesses of insulation. Their approach is similar to typical US house construction, dressed up afterwards with an external timber cladding. I note they say that the construction is lightweight, and lacks thermal mass. That does not mean that thermal mass cannot be introduced, via an appropriate floor slab laid over insulation, or an internal spine wall or heavy masonry chimney breast. I would certainly want some thermal mass with predicted climate change and increasing summertime overheating in modern homes constructed in this manner. The honeycomb foil insulation product you identified seems to me to be to heading away from sustainability.
In our old stone village farmhouse we found the biggest hassle is the drop in temperature once the logs stop burning in our old woodburner. At least 4 deg C drop overnight. We were never able to keep it burning over night due to strong draughts. So we considered a Jotul stove with a heat store (F520HT), so it retained and transmitted heat over night once the logs stopped burning. We also considered a cheaper woodburner, and a pellet stove with a through the wall flue as well. However in the end, a few months ago, we went for a Rika Paro “hybrid” stove, which takes both logs and pellets. So far its done exactly what it says on the tin. I think its attractive to look at, though the flames are much nicer when its burning logs. Its very quiet and fully programmable. when really cold outside it consumed well over 15kg of pellets a day, but as the weather warmed the thermostat mode cut that down. Burning logs it needs a quick clean out of ash etc every 2-3 day, pellets about once a week. It consumes one or so 30mm long split logs an hour and the logs generate much more heat than the pellets. It was not made clear in the literature how often it requires a more major “entretien”. it says after 700 hours of pellet burning, but its a lot more often when on logs. I have now done that about 5 times since December last. So I think maintenance is a lot more hassle than a straightforward woodburner.


What you guys will do to increase your bill :joy:


JoCo thank you for your input. The plan we have considered is where the house is supported by pilings. I assume this would preclude the addition of thermal mass. I will download the software you mention. More details are welcome - no other buildings to consider.
Plot of land shown. I am wondering if the wooded hillside will have much of an effect on morning sunlight - it’s to the east of the plot. Also wondering how to benefit from evening sun which comes from the direction of the lane and I imagine the main house would face away from it or maybe at an angle. Regarding insulation - I doubt Amibois buildings are in the top tier - thinking passive designs but I think they would be fairly inexpensive to heat and keep cool. I believe a good roof overhang would help in the summer. Regarding thermal mass - I remember my uncle had a large glazed super-conservatory area of his Canadian home partially full of large water containers. They seemed to work better than his earlier idea of taking heat from a greenhouse with a heat- exchanger which did not end well for the plants! I didn’t realise one could buy a combined pellet and woodburner. Very useful.
We are having doubts about the suitablility of the plot we were considering. Price includes an additional 5000m2 of pasture (masked by bushes) and 3500m2 of woodland both requiring maintenance though maybe not too much work. We have no experience of either.
I’ve included a photo of the showhouse we visited.

Note - gentleman in pic not me but from Amibois.
I was also wondering about the interior walls. Standard issue will I suspect offer little in the way of soundproofing.

I suspect the ancient Chinese “architect” was paid a pittance… Much like the architects of today… :slight_smile:

Have a look at a recent case of ‘living on site while designing’ at


Hi. I think Piles or Ground Screws are certainly a sustainable and low impact approach. It does compel you towards a frame building. It does not preclude a central core in something heavy enough to provide thermal mass, or even/and earth sheltered construction on several sides in the form of a raised berm (earth bank). A berm and closing off under the structure would probably be cheaper than heavily insulating under the exposed floor.
Nowadays people are talking about the need for super-insulation, usually about 30cm thick, particularly with regard to heat-pumps. With the space on the site you show, a ground source heat pump with pipework extending like drainage out into the field about a metre down would I think be much better performing than air-source.
Your uncle’s conservatory used solar radiation to heat the thermal mass in the form of the water in the barrels. One can calculate the rate at which these then give off heat again as it gets colder over night, to even out the temperature inside. I would also think it would need shade in summer to avoid overheating. (Even mile a minute/russian vine or similar grown over the outside of conservatory structures in summer, cut down in winter works well, but it helps to have a frame that stands up proud from the glass to fix netting or similar supports to). This was a self-build technique pioneered in the US under a general heading of passive solar design, usually frame buildings.
It seems to me that for long term sustainability if you have a woodburner then woodland alongside is a good solution. I suspect there will always be locals interested in a deal to manage it in return for a share, and in so doing cut your wood supply too.
As for the lane, evening sun, and the extent to which you might need overhangs or deciduous trees as shelter from summer radiation, or optimal views, I think it would be easier to comment on the specifics if you were to download Sketchup ( Free 3D Modeling Software | 3D Design Online | SketchUp Free Subscription…, then share the widest view of the site as a .skp file (its own standard format). If you open the software, the ‘file menu’ provides ‘geolocation’. Sketchup used to be owned by Google, so its a similar interface to google maps. I put in Eze (near Monaco) just now, and then clicked search. You cannot select a particularly large region but zooming in allows one to click “Select Region” and this gives a fairly wide area of the location. The more zoomed in you are up to a point, the higher the resolution of the resulting Satellite image that is draped over a 3D facsimile of the local terrain. Its not good at cliff faces, but is generally good enough to get a good idea of views, shadows, and sun paths. Once zoomed in enough, then click ‘import’, wait a bit-depending on pc and internet speed, and you see an apparently flat satellite image in an oblique view. The same geolocation menu now offers ‘show terrain’. With somewhere as mountainous as Eze its a transformation! ‘Save as’ allows you to save it as a ‘.skp file’, which can be zipped and shared. (I pay for Placemaker as well as Sketchup Pro, because I can then get much higher resolution Satellite images, and mapping, but the generic one does well for initial studies and appraisal.)


I will learn how to use Sketchup when I am back in the UK and have wifi again. Will also read up on some of your other suggestions - thank you.

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