Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Passivhaus

I expect that many reading this blog will be aware of Passivhaus design buildings.  In a nutshell, a Passiv house will generally have excellent fabric insulation, be very well sealed with mechanical ventilation incorporating heat recovery (MVHR), and be optimised to capture winter solar energy, but shield in summer, to reduce overheating (likely to be an increasing problem in the years ahead). 

Current, and currently proposed, UK building standards are still way behind Passivhaus, but there are shining examples where councils have taken the initiative to show how it should be done eg Goldsmith Street in Norwich.  With this in mind, in July 2020 Mike proposed a motion requiring all dwellings developed by the council owned Horsham District Homes Ltd to be built to Passivhaus standards (Item CO/18).  It came as no surprise the Tory majority did not approve, mostly on the grounds of additional cost, despite the potential future cost savings from significantly lower heating bills, not to mention the future fabric improvements that will be needed to meet the 2050 UK zero carbon target.

(It should be noted that the UK's EPC rating methodology is a cost based assessment, which does not necessarily encourage best practice in building fabrics.  It can also be shown that achieving carbon neutrality by heating with renewable energy isn't going to work unless the fabric efficiency of all UK housing is dramatically improved, because of the number of poor quality dwellings that require improvement.  So why are sub-optimal dwellings still being approved?)

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