Bonfield Review: A step in the right direction?
An independent review chaired by Peter Bonfield on consumer advice and protection related to home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures was launched in 2015. The long awaited Bonfield Review, titled ‘Each home counts’, was published at the end of last year (2016) and summarises that there is a need for greater consumer protection through a new framework and quality mark.
Read the Trust's letter of response here.
The Trust welcomes recommendations on conducting thorough assessments of each property prior to retrofit, as well as recognizing the need for robust monitoring. The Passivhaus approach already addresses many of the points raised in the report:
- Approved Certification Body – the Passivhaus Institut and approved trained certifiers
- Codes of Practice and Standards – an existing, deep retrofit standard (EnerPHit)
- Training in core knowledge about building physics, design and consumer interaction – Chartered European Passivhaus (CEPH) Designer training
- A system for Quality Control and Enforcement – Passivhaus certification
The Passivhaus Retrofit Standard EnerPHit can also be implemented via a Phased strategy which includes intermediate certification. Best practice guidance on this approach is currently being produced.
Useful lessons could be drawn from 25 years of Passivhaus experience and testing, to help during the implementation phase of the Every Home Counts report.
There are a number of large-scale UK Passivhaus projects that could be used as deep retrofit case studies to learn from:
Manchester, for One Manchester Housing – refurbishment of a block of flats plus neighbourhood regeneration. Complete and occupied.
Glasgow, for Glasgow Housing Association – refurbishment of a tower block, plus local regeneration. Currently underway (presentation here)
Solihull, for Solihull Community Housing - OWLS (Off-site Wrap-around Large Scale) retrofit project (more here)
Plymouth, for Portsmouth City Council - step by step refurbishment of a tower block without decanting residents. The only UK project that is part of the EuroPHit scheme. Currently on site.
The Trust also formed a collective response to the Bonfield Review, which can be read here. The Passivhaus Trust also participated in a recent event by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA), where Peter Bonfield came to listen to responses and discuss the next steps for future implementation of practical solutions. Some key comments that emerged included:
- One size does not fit all: Highlight the differences between the treatment of solid-wall buildings and cavity-wall buildings. Localised refurbishment plans may be appropriate in many areas of the country.
- Learn from the past: To avoid repeating the mistakes and unintended consequences of the past, knowledge gathering is essential – both from existing research and new, real-life pilots of a full range of property types, retrofit measures, and materials.
- Education: Training and education at all levels are paramount to help facilitate better practice and compliance, from industry training to fill the skills gap, through to general consumer awareness.
- Do it right, do it once: A whole house approach is required for each property, even if the improvements are carried out incrementally. Quality construction will help to build trust.