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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Essential advice on your problems with building, budgeting, DIY & planning from the most experienced names in the self build industry


What is the best heating system for an ICF home?

I’m currently planning to build a 150m2 bungalow. I am looking into using insulating concrete formwork (ICF) and am wondering whether it is as good as it looks. If I build with ICF, would I need to install a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) system due to the high level of airtightness? What’s the best heating system for this particular kind of construction method?

You can achieve an adequate fresh air supply in a new build without an MVHR system, but it will depend on how well the house is naturally ventilated and how airtight the structure is.

With regards to the heating system, there’s not one option that will be best, as such. To make your decision, you should break down your requirements into how you want to source the heat and how you want it distributed. Most people select underfloor heating for distribution downstairs at least, which may make sense for you. A woodburner is a sustainable alternative, but 150m2 is too big for this kind of appliance to heat alone.

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Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Beginners guide to extensions - Energy efficient masonry - Renovating a Victorian house - How to maximise your self build budget - Dealing with planning conditions