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Vickie and Mike Ward wanted to build an ‘off grid’ home, near Exmoor in Somerset that had the smallest environmental footprint possible.

This meant water from their own well, PV panels instead of a connection to the national grid, ingenious heating and cooking with wood and, naturally, lots of timber.

They had commissioned Roderick James Architects to design the house because RJA are one of the pioneers of green timber frame design which is the build method that Vickie and Mike wanted. One of the challenges involved in creating a house with a small carbon footprint but with exposed beams in the roof space is, where do you put the insulation needed to meet demanding thermal efficiency targets? At this point RJA turned to JJI-Joists for a solution.

Many people specify JJI-Joists in walls and roofs because of their ability to contain a large volume of insulation, as the 9mm OSB web and solid timber flanges help prevent cold bridging. What RJA did, however, was to turn the roof inside out. The design involved an inner timber skin to sit on top of the Douglas Fir beams and the JJI-Joists sitting on top of that. An outer skin keeps the building weather tight and the void between the joists is filled with blown, shredded newspaper for insulation. The result is a spectacular timber frame design with high thermal efficiency in the roof.


Mike and Vickie Ward


Roderick James Architects LLP


Carpenter Oak Ltd + Whiteway Carpenters

Engineered Timber Supply:

Pasquill (Newport)


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