2017 Passivhaus Premonitions
It has undoubtedly been a topsy-turvy 2016 and if the beginning of 2017 is anything to go by, we had better all buckle in! With turbulent political scenarios in the foreseeable future, there is concern and uncertainty regarding the UK's climate change policies and environmental commitments (international, European & national!) How may this affect the Passivhaus movement?
The 2016 UK Passivhaus Conference heralded an exciting and simultaneously scary time for Passivhaus within the UK, as Passivhaus is starting to touch mainstream practices just as we’re about to leave the EU. Two views expressed by the panel included:
Leaving the single market may result in a shortage of skilled construction workers that is hard to fill fast enough to maintain momentum. This may be detrimental to construction quality and the collaborative culture that is imperative for the successful delivery of the Passivhaus standard, particularly at scale.
It is possible that the cost of imported Passivhaus components will increase in cost due to the devaluation of Sterling against the Euro. However, there is also a chance that the manufacturing of Passivhaus components may be boosted within the UK, helping to bring costs down.
The short answer, we don’t really know yet! We do know that it has been seven years since the first Passivhaus was built in the UK. Although the UK Passivhaus movement remains a voluntary standard and has yet to secure any political or national policy backing, there is a clear thirst for demand in improving building quality and providing comfortable homes.
I am confident that we still have a bright Passivhaus future. There is evidence that clients are seeking a better standard of design and performance generally and that the message about Passivhaus is positive and encouraging. People understand the benefits it delivers and that it is a physics based approach to better quality construction. They also ‘get’ that it saves money whilst delivering comfort.
Even where people are not going for Passivhaus they are still seeking better quality construction... We receive a good number of inquiries solely based on our experience of delivering the standard. I predict that the standard will build on its early development here in the UK, gaining more widespread acceptance, particularly amongst the self-build markets where quality is paramount.
Chris Parsons, Parsons + Whittley Architects
Ones to watch
Saffron Acres in Leicestershire has recently become the UK’s largest residential certified Passivhaus scheme with all 68 units achieving the standard. However, there are a few large schemes hot on its heels to claim the title:
100+ homes at both sites aiming for Passivhaus
72 homes aiming for Passivhaus
300+ homes aiming for Passivhaus
The annual UK Passivhaus Awards will once again be taking place in July and will champion the best in innovative UK Passivhaus schemes.
Here at the Trust this year, along with our core program of annual activities, we are working on several working groups and best practice protocols. The Passivhaus goes Personal campaign continues to promote the standard to self-builders, and we are excited to launch a new Passivhaus campaign later this year for Local Authorities. We are also looking to expand the technical guidance on our knowledge base ‘How to build a Passivhaus’ and help inspire the next generation of Passivhaus with a national Passivhaus Student Competition.
|Passivhaus goes Personal
||How to build a Passivhaus||UK Passivhaus Awards||Passivhaus Student Competition||UK Passivhaus Conference|
There are a number of sponsorship opportunites for several of the upcoming events. to get involved please email Kirsten@passivhaustrust.org.uk