About Gaia Energy
Gaia Energy was founded in 2019 by Sebastian Tarnowski. The word ‘Gaia’ comes from Greek mythology and refers to a figure who was the goddess of the earth or mother of life. Gaia Energy was born out of his own experience building a self-build house in Graven Hill, Bicester, and motivation to lead a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.
Sebastian is passionate about protecting the natural environment and helping people become more self-sufficient in both food and energy production. He is dedicated to changing housing for the better by giving people greater choice into how the built environment is created. So that people can live better, healthier, more fulfilled lives.
Photo of Sebastian Tarnowski
The aims of Gaia Energy are twofold. The first is to supply, build and service green walls and vertical gardens. The second is to design and build beautiful bespoke highly energy efficient homes.
Gaia Energy intends to be a different kind of homebuilder. We offer bespoke modular designed houses utilising Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) making them highly energy efficient, cost effective and durable. We aim to deliver and exceed the Government’s new Environment Bill requiring developers to deliver a net biodiversity gain of at least 10% on housing schemes by incorporating living green walls into the designs.
Gaia Energy also supplies Vertical Garden’s giving people the ability to grow their own edible micro and leafy greens indoors and enabling them to become more self-sufficient. Being able to grow our own fresh produce will also reduce our environmental impact by cutting down on waste, transport, and packaging costs.
Responding to the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals our mission is to enable people to become more self-sufficient in both food and energy production. By incorporating solar panels and vertical gardens into the designs we will enable people to grow their own fresh food and generate their own power. Encouraging people to live more sustainable lives and thus helping to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 Degrees Celsius as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Gaia Energy is using Bioregional’s One Planet Living principles. One Planet Living is an easy to use framework that can help anyone, anywhere to plan, deliver and communicate sustainability.
Gaia Energy has opted to use NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) as a building material because of its fantastic benefits. NUDURA forms consist of two panels of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) connected together with their patented web system that is made of 100% recycled material.
Gaia Energy has opted to use NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) as a building material because of its fantastic benefits. NUDURA forms consist of two panels of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) connected together with their patented web system that is made of 100% recycled material. NUDURA forms are stacked, steel reinforced and filled with concrete, which completes the building envelope in one easy step. Customers can opt to use a ‘green cement’ made from recycled fly ash or GGBF (Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag) as an alternative to traditional concrete which is a big producer of carbon dioxide. New greener alternatives to concrete are being developed all the time but a key advantage to using ICF is its superior thermal qualities.
Maximum energy efficiency
NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) provide U-Values as low as 0.11*, saving building owners over 70% in annual energy costs when compared to traditional building methods. The energy performance that comes from a NUDURA form is the combination of thermal mass and airtightness tested as low as 0.33 m3 .m2 /hr. Building with NUDURA reduces a building’s operational energy demands, and as a result, the structure’s carbon footprint on the environment.
NUDURA offers superior performance when it comes to thermal bridging, resulting in even temperatures throughout the structure with reduced draughts and cold spots, ensuring occupants are comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside. NUDURA offers 17 different thermally modelled junctions as per SAP, British Regulations and Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP).
Great sound, fire, and impact resistance
NUDURA forms act as an effective sound barrier by dampening sound vibrations from unwanted outside noise, ideal for both residential and commercial construction, providing SRI (Sound Reduction Index) ratings SRI 51* and higher. The strength of NUDURA comes from the solid concrete core. NUDURA walls are built with steel reinforced concrete and a non-toxic fire retardant expanded polystyrene foam, providing a fire protection rating of up to 4 hours. NUDURA also provides greater impact resistance and will withstand winds of up to 250 mph (402 km/h) ensuring that the occupants of the building or home are safe and secure in almost any situation. NUDURA also provides structural tables as per Eurocode 2 and 8.
A NUDURA structure is built to last and retains its value longer. The main structural element in a NUDURA building is reinforced concrete, which offers substantially better durability and requires less maintenance and repair over its lifetime.
*When the 150 mm insulation insert is used in conjunction with NUDURA’s 305mm core form, this delivers completed wall assemblies with U-Values as low as U.011. Based on actual energy consumption case studies of NUDURA residential homes when compared to energy claims cited under Publication No. ECG019 “Energy Consumption Guide 19” by Action Energy, UK (formerly Best Practice Programme)
*SRI 51 rating based on minimum 152 mm NUDURA form and concrete core thickness or larger installed with code compliant finishes mounted both side of wall assembly in accordance with NUDURA Installation procedures.
Thermal MassThe solid mass of the NUDURA wall has some very unique qualities. The monolithic concrete is layered between two continuous pieces of 67mm EPS foam, which isolates the concrete and significantly reduces the flow of heat through the wall. NUDURA walls have a high storage capacity with low thermal conductivity, providing the most useful level of Thermal Mass. This helps to stabilize the internal temperature from day to night temperature fluctuations and provides a largely self-regulating environment. The result is less energy consumption, reducing the need for mechanical heating and cooling, resulting in greater cost savings throughout the year.
Energy Saving Technology
What makes up your Low Energy Home?
Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery unit
How it works: With near airtight new buildings from Gaia Energy, whole house ventilation is the most effective ventilation strategy on the market.
What makes up your Low Energy Home
Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery unit
How it works:
With near airtight new buildings from Gaia Energy, whole house ventilation is the most effective ventilation strategy on the market. With the addition of heat recovery, it continuously extracts humid air from wet areas such as kitchen and bathrooms and using a heat exchanger, transfers the heat to filtered incoming fresh outside air which is redistributed to the living areas and bedrooms.
Heat exchangers are up to 93% efficient which significantly helps reduce heating bills, plus the effect of condensation is dramatically reduced. On hotter days the heat pump can be reversed to provide additional cooling (just like your fridge). The end result is a high performance ventilation system that keeps your home supplied with clean, fresh, warm air.
Air Source Heat Pump
How it Works:
Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. They can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°C. Because the source of the heat – the air – is abundantly all around us, air source heat pumps have the advantage of low installation costs and minimal space requirements, making them ideal for new build applications.
Suitable for either indoor or outdoor installation, air source heat pumps can be used for heating, cooling and to produce domestic hot water. Although ASHPs need electricity to run, they extract renewable heat from the environment, meaning the heat output is greater than the electricity input. This makes them an energy efficient method of heating your home.
Ground Source Heat Pump
How it works:
The earth stores an enormous amount of solar energy both from solar radiation and rainfall, ground source heat pumps extract this freely available energy to provide low cost, low carbon, high efficiency heating and hot water. To extract the energy ground source heat pumps use collectors, filled with a mix of water and antifreeze, buried in the earth, either horizontally or vertically. Although more costly to install than an air source heat pump, with the constant temperatures below ground throughout the year, ground source heat pumps deliver high levels of efficiency all year around irrespective of the seasonal variations in air temperature.
If you have large garden space outside, you could consider a ground source heat pump. Despite the greater upfront cost of installing a ground source heat pump, this type of pump is more efficient when it comes to heating your home, which results in higher fuel savings and lower energy bills.
Rainwater HarvestingRainwater Harvesting works by taking the rain from your roof gutters, filtering out leaves and debris and storing the water in an above ground or underground tank. This water can then be used for non-drinking applications such as vehicle washing, irrigation, toilet flushing and washing machines.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating systems, or solar thermal systems, use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. There are two types of solar water heating panels; they are evacuated tubes or flat plate collectors. Flat plate collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof. An air source heat pump or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature set by the thermostat in the cylinder when the solar water heating system does not reach that temperature.
The process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the solar photovoltaic (PV) effect. Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into solar power (electricity). They use thin layers of semi-conducting material that is charged differently between the top and bottom layers. The semi-conducting material can be encased between a sheet of glass and/or a polymer resin.
When exposed to daylight, electrons in the semi-conducting material absorb the photons, causing them to become highly energised. These move between the top and bottom surfaces of the semi-conducting material. This movement of electrons generates a current known as a direct current (DC). This is then fed through an inverter, which converts the power to alternating current (AC) for use in your home.
When in use, Solar PV’s do not generate Greenhouse gases or cause pollution. Each kilowatt-peak (kWp) of electricity produced can save approximately 455 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions compared with electricity generated from fossil fuels.