Passivhaus Affiliate
Header Image

Hampshire Passivhaus

Location: 7 Convent Lane, Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7JJ
Completion Status: Certified September 2015 Occupancy: Occupied since May 2015
Architect: Ruth Butler Architects Consultant: M&E and PH:Julian Sutherland, Structural engineer: Price & Myers, Air Test: BRE, Landscape Architects: John Brooks CBE, Certifier: WARM
Contractor: Nicholas Coppin Ltd Client: Ruth Butler & Julian Sutherland
  Share this project: 

Hampshire Passivhaus is a self-build home for Ruth Butler (Architect) and Julian Sutherland (Chartered Engineer) and their family, on the south coast of England. It is an L-shaped detached dwelling, creating private courtyard spaces, on a tight brownfield site with multiple neighbours. The former St Johns Ambulance garage site had several obstacles to overcome such as ground pollution and privacy concerns.

Hampshire Passivhaus Hampshire Passivhaus

The project comprises the main house and a detached garage and was completed in May 2015.  Where possible the scheme reuses most of the former buildings – old bricks are used in the hardcore, steel beams are reused in the new garage. Performance in use data shows a 34% improvement on the calculated performance. In addition to meeting Passivhaus standards, the design team set themselves two additional goals:

1. HEALTH & WELLBEING: To create a healthy indoor environment with zero VOCs and very low Internal particulate pollutants

2. EXEMPLARY ARCHITECTURE FOR CONTEMPORARY LIVING: To create a light and airy open plan living with excellent indoor/outdoor flow to the courtyard gardens


As a Building Services Engineer, the levels of comfort in our house have exceeded my expectations. It’s draught-free and uniformly comfortable throughout the year.

Julian Sutherland, Self-build homeowner

Hampshire Passivhaus Hampshire Passivhaus

Special Features

  • Prefabricated CLT structure, self-finished materials and simplified detailing led to house being finished in only 7 months.
  • L-shape ground floor created a brick walled court yard that helps prevent overlooking. Although it compromised the Passivhaus form factor ratio, it gives all rooms excellent indoor – outdoor flow.
  • No and low VOC materials led to a healthy indoor environment.
  • Performance in use shows a 34% improvement over expected energy consumption.
  • Quarry tile floors laid directly on slab gives excellent thermal mass to the interior.
  • Green roofs and landscape provides enhanced biodiversity to this original brownfield site.


Hampsire Passivhaus interior: All image credits ©Ruth Butler Architects

What would be done differently

  • Pre-fabricate under-slab insulation to simplify foundation details
  • Enhance bedroom cross ventilation by adding direct link to stairwell roof light
  • The design challenge with a Passivhaus is keeping them cool. There is not a problem with heating them in the winter. Omit two (of the three) radiators in the house that have never been used.
  • Investigate DC fan-driven convector heater for main heat source to reduce thermal lag of the radiator
  • Add daylight sensors to the electric lighting
  • Add PV export meter to identify PV energy use within the house
  • Get the team right from the beginning. It is important to get people you can trust who share the same aspirations on delivering low energy projects.


Further Information

Ruth Butler Architects

Hampshire Passivhaus project information

House Planning Help 177: Redeveloping a brown field site for a contemporary home – with Ruth Butler