Why more housing providers should be building to Passivhaus Standard

Whether social, affordable, open market or a mix, here are a few reasons why more housing providers should be building to Passivhaus Standard.

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Comfort & Health

It is well known that a Passivhaus provides superior indoor comfort (if you want to learn more – check out our Passivhaus goes Personal video.)

In a Passivhaus, comfortable temperatures are maintained whatever the weather. There are no draughts, no cold spots, no mould and no condensation, no matter where you are in the building. Stable temperatures & highly comfortable internal conditions all year round, are often critical for the health of older people.

Constant clean fresh air provided by the ventilation system (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) provides good indoor air quality and seems to help alleviate allergies such as hay fever, and respiratory problems associated with air pollution and mould. .

A Passivhaus also creates a peaceful and sound proof environment so there are less resident complaints on noise issues.

Performance

Passivhaus is the only standard that requires post construction compliance testing. This provides quality assurance, for clients and occupants. A Passivhaus certificate is a seal of approval that the building performs exactly as designed.

Better quality materials and precise construction should also avoid building defects, and require less maintenance, which should all result in fewer residents’ complaints.

Passivhaus provides a low-tech fabric-first solution. It doesn’t require fancy gadgets or renewable energy sources such as photo-voltaic panels (although this can greatly compliment a Passivhaus scheme that requires little energy to operate on.)

Cost savings

In winter, a Passivhaus can keep itself warm with very little energy. Energy consumption compared to existing homes can be reduced by 90% which translates into very low fuel bills. Therefore, it is a great way for housing providers to guarantee affordable homes that will not allow residents to fall into fuel poverty. This, in turn, means very low rent arrears and fewer residents’ complaints.

The savings on energy bills means more spending money for residents, which is put back into the local economy. One tenant living at Wimbish Passivhaus development said, after three month’s occupation:

“The low gas bill means that my children will get Christmas presents this year, and if it carries on like this, we might be able to have a family holiday next year”

 

 

Local Authority Campaign

To help make it easier for housing providers to adopt and successfully build to the Passivhaus Standard the Trust are initiating a campaign in Spring 2017 focused at Local Authorities & Housing Associations. The aim is to get many Councils working together along with industry professionals to help implement the Passivhaus Standard in their guidelines/ specifications for new housing on their own land.

The campaign will:

* Promote the standard & increase awareness of Passivhaus to Local Authorities

* Encourage implementation of Passivhaus on Local Authority owned land/ projects

Approximately 30 Local Authorities and Housing Associations attended our events in 2016. Additional information gathering/ knowledge sharing events are planned for the coming year. The regional invite-only workshops will follow a similar format to the previous events to raise awareness of the benefits of Passivhaus and explore the options of procurement. They are expected to raise a plethora of common issues:

* Identify the risks of not going for Passivhaus

* Development appraisals and policy statements

* Procurement routes and how to de-risk.

* Costs, value and viability studies

* Specification clauses

* Links to self-build registers

* Existing examples highlighting different systems and styles; rural and urban

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