Chocks Away!

Work is to recommence after a break to finish off the refurbishment of this WWII RAF hut, using natural materials for insulation.

Posted in: News

Alternative Treatment

The weatherboarding for a barn conversion in Devon being given preservative treatment by scorching, rather than using a chemical treatment.

Posted in: News

RIBA South East Awards 2017

Conker is delighted to announce that Caring Wood in Maidstone built under PPS7 to Code level 6 has not only won a Regional Award in recognition of its architectural excellence but also the Sustainability Award for the South East.

Conker helped with the selection of insulation materials, most of which were naturally derived wood fibres, minimising the need for petrochemical products; selection of high performance triple glazing; advised on ventilation; ran an airtightness workshop in conjunction with Paul Jennings; and inspected air tightness work on site to assist the main contractor before air leakage tests; assisted the architectural team with airtight and thermal bridge-free detailing.


Posted in: Awards, News

Pedalhaus 2017


This year’s tour took in 3 passivhauses, after a fine breakfast, and 28 or 52 miles of cycling (train home or cycle home).


First stop was The Greenhouse, which Conker detailed and
administered in 2008.  It was great to hear that the house is working well and is super efficient and comfortable.  Construction consisted of cavity walls to ground floor and timber frame first floor using I joists.


We then visited two houses designed by Rod Springett on a site in St Margaret’s at Cliffe; many thanks to Rod and his neighbour for showing us around their lovely new houses.  Work was still in progress finishing off the details, both use cavity wall construction with timber external cladding and flat single ply roof membranes. These were Rod’s first attempts at full Passivhaus, Rod generously shared his experiences with us.


Posted in: News

Major Roofing Project

Kent peg tiles and central valley are being replaced/repaired on
this Victorian dwelling.

The original Victorian roof was insulated with hay between the skeiling rafters and some areas had a double layer of lath and plaster.

Wool and wood fibre insulation has been added to form a warm roof, whilst retaining the historic detailing at eaves and verges.  Old tiles have been reused where possible.


Posted in: Conservation, News

Class Q Barn Conversion

The conversion of this agricultural barn into a 4 bedroom dwelling is underway and heading towards its first air test.

The Dutch barn is being internally framed with straw bale infill system.

Work will be to AECB Silver Standard for efficiency.


Posted in: Class Q Barn Conversion, News

For Your Convenience

Improvements have been made to the toilet block at Tyland Barn.

Materials and products were carefully selected to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Posted in: News

Passive House Designer

Paul Mallion’s Passive House Designer certificate has been renewed; the renewed
certificate is valid until 2022.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

AECB Silver Standard Certification

This super insulated Class Q Barn conversion obtains AECB Silver Standard certificate.

Posted in: AECB, AECB Silver Certified, Class Q Barn Conversion, News

Retrofit & Loft Extension

We have carried out air leakage testing and thermographic survey of a house near Wye constructed in 1987.  Air leakage proved to be so bad that the carpets lifted up during the test, and huge areas of missing roof insulation were found.

Works are planned to start this year on a total roof overhaul and new zinc clad dormer windows.

Posted in: News

CABE Conference 2017

CABE (Chartered Association of Building Engineers) held their Southern Region Building conference in Ashford on 8 March

Paul Mallion was one of the speakers on the day, giving a presentation on the Passivhaus standard.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

AECB Silver Standard Certification

This refurbishment and loft conversion has obtained the AECB Silver Standard certificate.  All external walls were externally insulated to improve thermal efficiency, the roof thermally insulated and triple glazed windows and doors installed.

Posted in: AECB, AECB Silver Certified, News

Atcost Barn Conversion

Conversion on this Atcost Barn into a 4 bedroom family dwelling is nearing completion.


Posted in: Class Q Barn Conversion, News

Planning Permission Granted

Planning permission has been granted for the conversion of a workshop and store into a dwelling, located on the boundary of Westgate Gardens.  The building will be highly insulated using natural insulations.

Posted in: News

AECB Silver Standard Certification

This high quality self-build constructed in 2007-2008 needed no heating, but was not certified to any standard and was putting off potential purchasers.

We used the Passivhaus Planning Package to assess the building, Paul Jennings did the airiest.  It fell just shy of Passivhaus, but comfortably complied with AECB Silver Standard, once the original ventilation was upgraded.

The basic Rega MVHR used all flexible ductwork and had no insulation on the exhaust and inlet ducts.  The external vents were too high to reach for maintenance and were caked with debris.

Posted in: AECB, AECB Silver Certified, News

UK Passivhaus Conference 2016

UK Passivhaus conference had the highest ever attendance rate this year.
Thanks to the Passivhaus Trust staff for organising a really great event.
PH Conference
Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Conker’s Air Tightness Premier League


Air tightness is an essential part of a refurbishment or new build.

The Passivhaus standard requires a maximum figure of 0.6 air changes per hour, or 1.0 ach for refurbishment to the EnerPHit standard.

This table shows figures achieved on recent projects that we have been involved with to some extent.  It shows that the method of construction has little influence on the final result; but contractors with most experience do best.  The current battle is between Ecolibrium Solutions Ltd and Terra Perma, Ecolibrium winning by a whisker!  Any challengers?

Posted in: News

Cottage Transformation

A self build energy efficient and sustainable refurbishment where Conker carried out the detailed design and building regs nears completion.

Before works Exterior before works Interior before works External insulation Boarding Completed exterior

Posted in: News

Barn Roof

Barn conversion reveals stunning carpentry in early Victorian roof structure.

Roof structure of barn Roof structure Roof carpentry Early Victorian roof carpentry During works

Posted in: News

Grade II Listed Cottage

The most complex roof repairs we have ever dealt with.  Replacing asbestos slates with Kent pegs and insulating and reinforcing the roof structure.

Roof Structure Roof stripped Roof repairs Repairs to roof structure Roof insulation Kent peg tiles

Posted in: News

Large Extension Nears Completion

The first permit issued by the Environment Agency in the Romney Marsh area under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 20110 for sewage treatment systems.

Built using timber and natural insulation,with triple glazed timber windows.

Large extension Room with a view Interior


Posted in: News

Barn Conversion

Conker have been appointed to carry out the detailed design of a barn conversion into a 4 bedroom dwelling.

It is being designed to meet the AECB Silver Standard for energy efficiency.  The lean-to area will be timber I-joist construction and the Dutch barn is to be internally framed with a straw infill system.

Barn before conversion Interior

Posted in: Class Q Barn Conversion, News

Another New Low Energy House in Camber

xx_resized_175A second house on the site built to AECB Silver Standard nears completion.

Posted in: News

Breathe a Little Easier

In July/August’s edition of the RICS Property Journal, Paul has written an article titled ‘Breathe a little easier’ as a response to an earlier article ‘Studying the links’ (November 2015, p.34), which considered the connection between indoor air quality and asthma, this will concern surveyors involved with energy-efficient buildings.

Paul Mallion explains how the German Passivhaus standard can prevent condensation and mould growth and provide excellent indoor air quality compared to more traditional designs.

The article can be found at (pages 38 & 39).


Posted in: News, Passivhaus, Published Articles

Class Q Permitted Development

Modern barn conversion under Class Q Permitted Development, designed to AECB Silver Standard.

West elevation West Elevation Barn South elevation North Elevation Barn Interior

In 2014 the government introduced a new class of permitted development for agricultural buildings allowing them to be converted into residential use subject to compliance with the criteria below:


Posted in: Class Q Barn Conversion, News

A Load of Old Trousers!!

Work is progressing well at our most recent upgrade project – a 1960’s bungalow being transformed with a new roof extension and energy upgrade to AECB Silver Standard.

The huge new I-joist roof has been made cosy and warm using (many) pairs of old jeans; yes that’s correct, recycled denim insulation!

New Roof on Bungalow Denim Roofing Insulation Inside Roof Space

Posted in: News

AECB Kent Group

AECB Kent Group’s first event of the year ‘Airtightness, breathable insulation and ventilation’ was held on Friday 19th February in Canterbury at the Westgate Hall:
The event was hosted by 3 leading manufacturers and suppliers:
PYC Insulation – UK provider of Warmcell cellulose fibre
Ecological Building Systems – Supplier of ProClima airtight tapes and membranes including PH certified units
Systemair – MVHR ventilation systems
Follow this link for our review
Posted in: AECB, Events, News

The Conker Way to Build a Passivhaus

Click here to see The NutHaus Approach article.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

From Sketch to Reality

I was kindly invited to stay with clients in Dorset at their new Passivhaus that I designed in 2012.

The Den was finished in 2014 by Nicola and Dennis, with final details such as solar shading being finished in 2015, following which certification was obtained.

The detached 3 bed house is next to The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorset.  As my stay fell over the Halloween weekend we attended a party at The Fox.

The Den at NightThe Den at DayWaking up very early looking for the paracetamol, I noticed the room, once it had stopped spinning, was fresh and cool.   The Paul MVHR system was running on its lowest setting, and was barely audible despite the quiet countryside and triple glazed windows. The house is ‘upside down’ with 2 bedrooms on the ground floor, and living accommodation on the first floor to benefit from the views from the higher level.  The ground floor is concrete, the thermal mass keeping the space cooler than the upper levels.  The only source of heating is a 4 kW wood stove in the living room, electric towel rails were provided in the bathrooms but have never been wired up.  Hot water comes mainly from a 1.35m² flat plate solar panel, boosted by 3 kWp of solar PV and an Immersun controller, and when necessary backed up by electricity.  This solution was not the ideal choice but was by far the most cost effective to install, and is proving economic to run.

Nicola and Dennis have finished the house beautifully, using local builders and sub-contractors.  It was a privilege to stay in the house, that originated as a sketch on my drawing board.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Rippledown Finally Gets Windows!

Our longest running project, a straw bale classroom at Rippledown Environmental Education Centre, which started on site in 2006, has just been fenestrated.  Pro Glass Systems fitted Rationel Aura triple glazed units into douglas fir subframes that were pinned to the straw bales in 2010.  Funding has been an issue. The foundations and rainwater tanks were installed in 2006, the timber frame made from recycled douglas fir in 2009.

We look forward now to the final stage.

Rippledown New triple glazed windows New window Elevation

Posted in: News

New Oak Frame Building

A new oak framed house design in collaboration with Norton Timber has recently been completed.  Norton acted as the design and build contractor with Conker dealing with the planning permission and building regulations, this allowed the large detached house to be built to a tight and well controlled budget. High levels of insulation and triple glazed windows were used, and an airtightness of 2.47, not bad for an oak framed house and Norton’s first attempt at a ‘tight’ build.

Completed Building Cladding Oak Staircase Interior Some of the Team


Posted in: News

Pedalhaus Goes International

The pedalhaus cycle tours which were the brainchild of Paul Mallion have gone international!

The North American Passive House conference was followed by a Pedalhaus tour led by Vancouver’s Mayor.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

RICS Award Finalists

Westgate Hall nightRICS Award FinalistsThe Westgate Hall, winner of the community Benefit category for the South East was among the finalists for the UK RICS Awards 2015.


Posted in: Awards, Community Projects, News

New Low Energy House in Camber Completed

A new low energy house using principles we learnt from Passivhaus, but simplified in order to meet the client’s budget is now complete and on the market.

The house managed an EPC rating of B.

Photos courtesy of Phillips & Stubbs

Posted in: News

Passivhaus Certification

Passivhaus DorsetThe Man from Darmstadt he say ‘Ja’

Conker has obtained Passivhaus certification for a new detached house in Dorset.

See project details

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Westgate Hall Bicycle Racks

Westgate Hall Cycle RacksConker and Canterbury Cycle Centre sponsor ‘Plantlock’ bicycle racks at Westgate Hall, planted up with lavender.Conker's vintage style office bike

Shown here being tested by Conker’s vintage style office bike in matching green.

Posted in: Community Projects, News

RICS South East Awards 2015

Westgate Hall nightRICS 2015 South East AwardsConker is delighted to announce that the Westgate Hall in Canterbury was this years winner in the Community Benefit category for the South East.  This award recognises excellent achievement in providing a facility which directly benefits the local community.

The Hall was originally constructed in 1908 in the centre of the city as a drill hall.  It RICS Certserved the military through the two world wars and was adapted in the 1960’s for community use, but 3 years ago the council announced it closure.  Over a 15 month period the local community, through the new Westgate Community Trust, attracted substantial local support to such an extent that the council granted them a 99 year lease.  Funding was obtained and the Hall has been restored and modernised to provide a much sought after venue fit for today.

See project details.

Posted in: Awards, Community Projects, News

Conker Launch U Value Calculator Mobile App
for Android Devices

FrontScreenAn Android application for quickly calculating U values in buildings, with a database that includes many eco materials and a guide to the environmental impact of common insulations.

Thermal insulation is one of the most important factors in creating energy efficient and comfortable buildings.  Calculating U values to measure the thermal transmittance through a wall, roof or floor is fundamental to building design, but not all insulations are equal.  Some cause significant pollution during manufacture and disposal, whilst others are renewable and relatively benign.

Wallnuts has been developed by Conker in collaboration with programmer Kingsley Bickle, to provide a quick but comprehensive U value calculation for use on site or during preliminary design, and offer broad guidance on the environmental impact of the insulation materials based on their embodied energy and carbon.

Available at for £4.99.

See attached for more details.

Posted in: News

AECB Kent Group


On 19th March 2015, the Kent group visited Pierre Woodward’s wood yard in St Margaret’s at Cliffe near Dover for an introduction to how local timber is converted and used in building, from tree trunk to its final use.

See attached Review

Posted in: AECB, News

RICS Awards 2015

RICS_2015_awardsWestgate Hall RefurbishedThe Westgate Hall has been shortlisted under the Community Benefit category of the RICS South East Awards 2015. There are 7 other projects shortlisted in this category.

The winner will be announced on 14th May.

Posted in: Awards, Community Projects, News

New Low Energy House Takes Shape

A new low energy house takes shape in Camber, whilst we work on details for its matching neighbour which will be built to AECB Silver Standard.

Posted in: News

Building the Dream

Conker gets a mention on Channel 4’s Building the  Dream

Tony Wheeler’s fantastic straw bale house, Amethius features on Building the Dream, Series 2 Episode 11. Tony’s creation inspires a couple from East Sussex who wish to build a new home for themselves.

Watch the whole episode or dive in at 19 minutes to see Tony’s hand crafted, airtight, natural creation.

Posted in: News

Grade II Listed Flint Barn Conversion, East Sussex

Existing Barn and ByresWe have recently been appointed to develop the detailed design for the conversion of a stunning flint barn on the south coast.  We helped to obtain planning permission, working with planning consultants dha planning.  We developed a design that retains as much of the interior space as possible, whilst providing insulated pods for bedrooms that are suspended over the living space.

The objective is to make the new dwelling as energy efficient as possible, whilst leaving the main barn space open plan, retaining a feeling of light and space, maximising the two main door openings.

Disused byres will be rebuilt to form new wings for bedrooms and farm office.

Posted in: Conservation, News

New Oak Framed House

Work has just commenced on site at a new house designed in collaboration with Norton Timber.  Planning permission was obtained in March for the demolition of the existing farmhouse which was beyond repair.

The new house will be oak framed, then clad with insulation and weatherboarding over a brick plinth. Norton Timber have a wealth of experience designing and detailing timber frames, and were keen to work with us to develop a robust and well insulated thermal envelope which can overcome the difficulties of the oak shrinkage.

Norton will also be extending heir normal scope of work to project  manage the project.


Posted in: News

Pedalhaus Tour 2014

From medieval to 21st century carpentry in the Weald of Kent.

On 5th October Paul and Russell organised the Pedalhaus tour 2014, visiting a 15th century Hall house and a 21st century Huf Haus.

Follow this link for our Review

Rectory ParkPedalhausers 2014Huf Haus


Posted in: AECB, News

Stone Quarry

In September, AECB Kent group visited the Gallagher Hermitage quarry in Maidstone.

Follow this link for our review

Posted in: AECB, News

AECB Silver Standard Certification

Front ElevationConker has obtained the first Silver Certification in Kent for an eco refurbishment and extension to a 1960’s house in Surrey. This is only one of four issued in the UK, although more are in the pipeline.

See the Low Energy Buildings database entry for details of the project.

Posted in: AECB, AECB Silver Certified, News

Gatehouse Refurbishment

We are currently administering the refurbishment of a delightful Victorian gatehouse on an Estate in Ashford.  The property has suffered from condensation in the past, so we are insulating the internal face of the walls using the Steico wood fibre system with lime plaster finish.  Whilst we have used the external insulation system for some years (as prototyped at the Tyland Farmhouse) this is our first trial of the internal system.

Internal insulation is more difficult than external insulation, as sockets, switches, pipes, radiators, joist ends, partitions and door frames all have to be overcome.  There is also an increased risk of interstitial condensation, however, the Steico/Lime Green system is highly breathable and allows any moisture to be wicked away to the exterior.

The works also include installation of a small ventilation system to create constant air changes, and repairs to windows, repointing and brickwork repairs.

Posted in: Conservation, News

Construction of Passivhaus Begins

Planning consent was granted in March 2013 for a pair of Passivhauses in Camber, East Sussex.

The buildings will be super insulated, minimising heat losses and maximising passive solar gain and natural daylighting.  The site is very challenging; orientation is opposite to what would be preferable for passive solar design, neighbour amenity issues and flood risk.

Works have now commenced on site.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Bonjour Le Tour…Au Revoir Le Tour

This has nothing to do with buildings, but Conkers love cycling. Le Tour came to see us in Canterbury in 2007. This July it came to Yorkshire, then London via Cambridge. The crowds were amazing even though the spectacle was gone in a flash.

Posted in: News

Traditional Building Supplies

We organised a visit on 12 June to Traditional Building Supplies in Faversham.

Eve Rush-Ryan, the founder gave an introduction to the company, and talks were given on sheeps wool by Black Mountain and on natural paint by Earthborn Paint.

Follow this link for our review

Posted in: AECB, News

Insulation Issues

Recently published in the SPAB Briefing ~ Energy Efficiency in Old Buildings

Paul Mallion examines the concerns and options of insulation in old buildings.

See published article

Posted in: Conservation, News, Published Articles

Westgate Hall

Conker has been assisting a local group in saving the unique and historic Westgate Hall from demolition. On 28 July 2011 Canterbury City Council agreed to save the building and grant a 99 year lease to the Westgate Community Trust.  The hall will be preserved, refurbished and managed as a community centre.

Works have been on site since February 2014, with an anticipated opening date of October 2014. Works include a new roof covering placed on a new insulated sub-structure containing 300mm of sheep’s wool. This has allowed the original diagonal close boarding to the underside of the roof to be exposed and painted. New triple glazed roof lights have been installed to even out the daylight provision. All the original cast iron windows were either blocked up or painted out, so the hall had no natural daylight. All windows have now been restored, including the magnificent arched windows at each end.

The original hall, when in use as a drill hall, had three Victorian style roof vents, we have replaced these with the modern equivalent of an oast house vent, know sometimes as a wind catcher. These units are on rollers, so that they face away from the wind to extract stale air from the hall, whilst also having a small inlet which faces into the wind, introducing fresh air too.

Internally a new mezzanine floor is under construction, along with a new kitchen, lighting, heating and plumbing. The interior will remain simple and honest with bare brickwork painted. The parquet floor will be refurbished.

Posted in: Community Projects, Conservation, News

New Window Installation Technique

Conker are the first designers in the UK to use Ilbrucks new thermal/structural window fixing system using recycled polyurethane foam.  The system uses Purenit blocks adhered to the external face of a masonry wall to provide a thermal bridge-free rigid mounting for windows and doors.  This avoids the problem of projecting the fenestration over external wall insulation and creating air tight seals.

See photos below of the first test in the UK of the German approved system.

Kent’s specialist supplier in high performance joinery, Passivlux are the UK’s first distributor of the system PR/007/008.

IMG_6171 IMG_6172 IMG_6173 IMG_6174 IMG_6178 IMG_6182 IMG_6184 IMG_6185 IMG_6188 IMG_6189 IMG_6190 IMG_6192 IMG_6193 IMG_6195 IMG_6197 IMG_6198 IMG_6199 IMG_6201 IMG_6205 IMG_6206 IMG_6207 IMG_6208 IMG_6209 IMG_6212 IMG_6213

Posted in: News

AECB Kent Group


This year’s cycle ride took place on 22nd Sept, starting at Faversham, heading along the North Kent coast to Margate, via Whitstable, calling in at Grey Lyn, a Passivhaus designed by Conker in 2009.

15 AECB members, friends and students gathered at Faversham station for the first short leg to the house. Every type of bike was represented, from mountain bikes to commuters with baskets, but I did note that AECB members prefer a Brooks leather saddle!

Grey Lyn is a self build which has just been completed.  The owners, Justin and Trudy of Invicta Clean Energy gave a great intro to their home, with an honest evaluation of the build process, difficulties encountered, technologies tested, and the finishing touches planned.  The house sits in an infill plot replacing an old bungalow, the site has 37 neighbours, with tricky overlooking and privacy issues, it is in a conservation area, and to top it all, the planners also imposed height restrictions.  These factors were key in evolving the design, along with exploiting the perfect south facing garden.  Being on a former chalk quarry meant that rammed chalk was on the materials menu from the outset, a basement was also created to offset the lack of loft.

After unlimited coffee, tea, flapjacks and biscuits we headed for the famous seaside town of Whitstable, via the coast road.  We lunched at the Tower Hill tea gardens, finishing off their stocks of sandwiches and cake, enjoying the gardens and sea view.   Some departed to visit the town, or take a short cut home.  A small group of us carried on along the coast path with the wind behind us, past Herne Bay, the Roman towers at Reculver, and finally to Margate, which greeted us with the sight of the new Turner Contemporary Gallery (hopefully a future AECB visit).

We finished the day by finding a great chippy near the harbour, before heading to the station.  Amazingly Laura Trott, the olympic cyclist gave me a lift home, or at least a high speed train named in her honour!

Paul Mallion, Kent Group Leader

Front elevationPedalhaus Tour - Arriving at Grey Lyn PassivhausAECB members and friends inside on the stairsPedalhaus Tour - Viewing Rear Elevation

Posted in: AECB, Events, Passivhaus

Modern Lime Plastering and Insulation Systems

Recently, on the 16th of July, Conker Conservation organised a Modern Lime Plaster and Insulation Systems course run for the AECB Kent Group, the event was hosted at Godinton House, a beautiful 13th century estate.


Posted in: AECB, Events, News

RICS South East Awards 2013

Conker is delighted to announce that Tyland Farmhouse in Sandling, Maidstone was runner up in this years RICS Regional Awards in the ‘Building Conservation’ category for the South East, beaten to the Award by Windsor Castle!

Rescuing the dilapidated building was quite a challenge, Kent Wildlife Trust are delighted with the final building and pleased that their hard work has been recognised, along with Conker and the main contractor, S & T Fullers Ltd.

See project details.

Posted in: Awards, Conservation, News

Old House Eco Handbook

By Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr with Foreword by Kevin McCloud.

Recently published, Old House Eco Handbook is a practical guide to retrofitting for energy efficiency and sustainability and a companion volume to Old House Handbook.

Conker Conservation contributed to the section on sustainable insulation.

See attached Flyer


Posted in: Conservation, News, Published Articles

Farm Classroom Refurbishment

Planning consent has been obtained to refurbish a farm classroom building.

The refurbishment will provide a low energy, sustainable classroom which will enhance the rural science learning environment for pupils and staff alike.  The design embodies a number of low energy strategies; shading has been incorporated to reduce solar gain in summer, whilst still allowing users to benefit from it in winter.  High levels of thermal insulation and air tightness will ensure very low heat losses in winter with resultant low energy requirement and running costs.  Natural daylighting will be maximised wherever possible to provide a pleasant internal environment and reduce reliance on artificial lighting.

Work is currently on site, with some unusual spectators.

Farm Classroom during refurbishment Rafters in place During works - exterior Interior during works



Posted in: News

Air Quality

During last year’s weird weather, we had periods of heavy rain following drought.  This caused extreme stressing of the sewage network, resulting in the overflow of vast quantities of raw sewage into the Channel, which made many of our most popular beaches unusable.  None of us would like to swim in polluted water.

However, we seem to be less fussy about breathing polluted air.  Research has shown that in many houses, schools and offices, we breath in a cocktail of chemicals which can be harmful to our health.  These result from the activities in our buildings, the furniture, machinery, paints, and carpets.

Most houses are naturally ventilated, research shows that ventilation rates can vary hugely, depending on wind speed and weather conditions.  0.3 air changes an hour per person is recommended.


Posted in: News

Why White Paint Is Not The Green Choice

Paul Mallion is the first guest blogger on the House Planning Help website.

To read Paul’s blog follow this link.

Posted in: News

Stour Street History

Conker’s offices in 1942 following an air raid.

In reprisal for RAF raids on non-military targets in Germany, the Luftwaffe started to target cities of historic significance in the UK based on the ‘Baedeker’ travel guide books.  Cities bombed included Exeter, Bath, Norwich, York and Canterbury.  Stour Street was hit on 1st June 1942.

Thankfully our relations with Germany are now entirely PASSIV!


Posted in: News

Historic Retrofit Proves Challenging

Subsidence, front and side elevations leaning, severe condensation, plastic cladding, 30mm wide structural cracks – not the ideal starting point for an ecologically sound refurbishment.

Our brave client is undaunted by this task, and intends to create a fine example of energy efficiency using natural breathable materials.

Many difficult challenges have arisen during the detailed design, balancing cost, complexity, performance, buildability.

Follow us to see progress.


Posted in: Conservation, News

Faversham Passivhaus

Work is progressing on site for a new 4 bedroom passivhaus in Faversham.  Conker managed to obtain planning permission in December 2008 for the site in a dense residential area of the town centre, which suffered from considerable overlooking.  This was partly due to a considerate and responsive design solution, partly due to the hard work by the client in liaising with the 32 neighbours, and partly due to a very positive and constructive planning department at Swale Borough Council.

As the client is a specialist in renewable energy, the scheme naturally includes solar PV, solar thermal, plus pipework underground for testing heat pumps and ground cooling systems.

Image of Front Elevation Works in progress - front elevation Front Elevation Rendered Image of Rear of Building Rear Elevation Rendered

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Room To Breathe

Published in the RICS Building Surveying Journal, January-February 2012.

Paul Mallion discusses how external insulation was used in the refurbishment of a Grade II listed building.

View Room to Breathe

Posted in: Conservation, Published Articles

UK’s First Certified Passivhaus Industrial Building


Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Passivhaus Hub Event 3


This one day conference  held at Hadlow College Rural Regeneration Centre on 8 December 2011  focused on the planning policy and aesthetic issues which affect all new and refurbished buildings.

Paul Mallion explained the Passivhaus standard.  Other topics covered  included the current energy framework for planning and building regulations; retrofit of existing buildings to EnerPHit standard and case studies of completed Passivhaus buildings in the UK and across Europe.  A tour of Hadlow’s Passivhaus teaching block was also included, discussing how the standard was met in that instance.

Posted in: Events, Passivhaus

Passivhaus Hub Event 2
The Passivhaus Standard in Affordable Housing

This conference was held at Hadlow College Rural Regeneration Centre, a certified Passivhaus building on 18 October 2011.

The architect and builder gave a presentation about the building.

The event was chaired by the energetic Professor Ian Swingland OBE, and included 6 speakers.

Paul Mallion explained the Passivhaus standard.  Other topics covered included the regulatory framework, passivhaus products, construction, costs and research into retrofit.

Feedback was very good – see graph attached (note speaker number 2!).

The event was over subscribed and there is a waiting list for the follow up event.

Posted in: Events, Passivhaus

PassivHaus Hub Launch Event

The PassivHaus launch event on Sustainable Solutions for Passive Design took place at The Building Centre, Store Street, London WC1E on Tuesday 13th September 2011.

The event attracted over 30 attendees.

It was chaired by Gary Newman of Plant Fibre Technology and speakers included:-

Posted in: Events, Passivhaus

Certified Passivhaus Designer

After many years of promoting and practicing the passivhaus standard, Paul Mallion has taken the Passivhaus Institute exam and passed.

He is now recognised by the PHI and is listed on the database, one of only 3 chartered surveyors in the UK and Ireland.

Posted in: News, Passivhaus

Greendale Studio

Published in Green Building Magazine summer 2011.

Paul Mallion gives a designers perspective on a passivhaus light industrial unit.



Posted in: Passivhaus, Published Articles

Elected Fellow

Paul Mallion has been elected Fellow of the RICS by achievement.  This was based on Paul’s contribution to the profession in regard to sustainability and energy efficiency.

It is not true that he now has to grow a beard!

2011 Purple RICS on right of lionshead

Posted in: News

Tea Rooms

Conker Conservation obtained Listed Building consent and specified and tendered the work to The Mariner’s Tea Rooms in Rye .  The work carried out by contractor, R Flisher Ltd has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the Townscape Awards 2010 for the meticulous repair and redecorations’.

Detail Frontage of The Mariner's Tea Rooms Highly Commended Certificate

Posted in: Awards, Conservation

New School

Conker Conservation Ltd are working on designs for a Passivhaus Standard primary school in Kent.  Colliers Green School is a very successful rural school, with very forward thinking Head, staff and governors.  They were dismayed at the apathy displayed by conventional designers when given the brief for an ultra-low energy building.  No so at Conker, we have researched primary school design in the UK and found many exemplary buildings completed in the last 10 years.

Regrettably, these are dwarfed by the number of average buildings with poor energy performance, almost none meet the DECC guidelines for electricity consumption.

A passivhaus school recently completed in Redberg, near Frankfurt has given us confidence that we can achieve the standard.  Fund raising is currently underway.

Posted in: News

March 2010 Award Winners

Conker win the Special Award for Sustainability, Residential Category in the Kent Design Awards 2009/10.

Award Winners

Click here to see  Award Project

The Award was for the Green House, Shepherdswell,  near Dover, which was recognised by the judges as being the first house in Kent designed to Passivhaus principles, using the PassivHaus Planning Package 2004 software.  Conker beat off stiff competition for the award, including a project featured on Grand Designs.  The judging panel recognised that embarking on a passivhaus design in 2007 was a brave move by the client, when products and experience in the UK were still in their infancy.  They were also impressed by the fact the high thermal performance was achieved using conventional UK methods, such as cavity wall and timber frame, rather than costly specialist systems.

Conker used experience gained on the Pines Calyx , designed in 2004/2005 to Passivhaus principles, to detail the thermal junctions, windows and doors.  We have since refined these into a library of passivhaus details for cavity walls, timber frame, solid walls, in both new build and retrofit.

Posted in: Awards, Passivhaus

Ashford Design Awards 2010

Conker win the award for ‘Residential Development’.

Click to see  Award Project

Posted in: Awards


In June 2009, Paul Mallion becomes the first surveyor in Kent to receive his Certificate of Completion for the AECB Carbonlite PassivHaus Planning Training.

Posted in: Passivhaus

Vaulting Over The Building

Published in Green Building Magazine Vol 18 No 3 – Paul Mallion explains why timbrel vaulting could enjoy a re-emergence.

View article

Posted in: Published Articles

Barking Up The Right Tree

Conker’s article on the use of cork insulation on two projects, one being Friends of the Earths new roof terrace.

View cork article

Posted in: Published Articles

Green Apple Award

A house we designed for London contractor/developer Hillman & Sons was the National Silver Winner for Small Residential Projects of the Green Apple Awards in 2006. (more…)

Posted in: Awards