It’s been called the last word in green building, and is starting to get a foothold in the UK. 10:10 Councils Coordinator Alexis Rowell explains the benefits of the PassivHaus standard.
10:10 Councils are already doing great work on insulation. Manchester and Camden have retrofitted Victorian houses with energy efficiency measures to create low carbon exemplars and show residents what can be done. As you might remember from the last councils email, Sheffield, Leicester and Kirklees are offering free cavity wall and roof insulation for residents in both social and private housing. Camden has come up with a cunning plan for installing cavity insulation in tower blocks using abseilers!
However the best thing councils can do to further the energy efficiency agenda is to introduce the PassivHaus standard for new buildings and refurbishments. The PassivHaus standard has been used for the last twenty years in Europe (particularly in Germany), and makes buildings so energy efficient that they don’t need central heating or air conditioning. This cuts their energy requirement by around 85% compared to a typical house. We simply cannot reach zero carbon homes by 2016 as the government has mandated without building on the work that has been done by the PassivHaus Institute in Germany and the architects around Europe who have created the PassivHaus buildings that exist today.
PassivHaus isn’t just about new build – it can be used to scope retrofit work as well. That’s lucky, because more than 80% of our buildings will still be standing in 2050. Passivhaus is now an aspiration in Camden Council’s draft Local Development Framework (LDF) which means our planners will be asking developers and architects who plan to work on sites in Camden to think about using the PassivHaus standard from mid-2010 when the LDF becomes policy.
So ask your property services people to use the PassivHaus standard if they’re building new buildings or refurbishing old ones. It will save money in the long run in terms of dramatically reduced energy bills.