Passivhaus Affiliate

Goldsmith Street nears completion

As Norwich City Council's ambitious Goldsmith Street development nears completion, a sequence of visitors have been welcomed to the site to see construction in progress, including students, industry professionals and other interested parties. The visits have highlighted that significant large-scale Passivhaus residential development is now easily feasible and affordable in the UK.

Norwich City Council could have full confidence in the deliverability of the scheme, drawing on their own previous experience with Passivhaus and their Fabric First Framework, as well as the expertise of their team.  On this project they are working for the second time with PHT member Cygnum Timber Frame, who also provided the structure for 10 flats for social rent at Hansard Close (the council's first Passivhaus scheme). Contractor RG Carter has learned about Passivhaus hand-in-hand with Norfolk's local authorities, having already completed the award-winning Passivhaus scheme at Carrowbreck Meadows, and also working on Rayne Park at Three Score, Bowthorpe, which will include 117 Passivhaus homes. They have invested in Certified Passivhaus Tradesperson qualifications for several members of their team. PHT member WARM is providing Passivhaus consultancy and mechanical services design, using MVHR units supplied by PHT member Green Building Store.

Key stats

Expected fuel bills:  £150 / year
Flats (1, 2 and 3 bed): 60
Houses (2 and 4 bed):  45
Density:  83 dwellings per hectare
Air test result:  0.44 ACH

What this project also demonstrates is that cost is no longer a barrier; at £1875 / m², construction costs are in line with the average for the country. Architect Mikhail Riches explains that cost savings were made early in the design process by making significant alterations to the brickwork, roof and foundation packages, which didn't affect energy performance. The savings made in other areas allowed the Passivhaus features to be safeguarded.

With all homes to be available for social rent, one of the main drivers for the client's determination to build to Passivhaus certification has been the issue of fuel poverty, with the performance gap also a concern. The end result is going to be both a comfortable and attractive place to live. Built on a traditional street layout, and with thoughtful brick detailing, the scheme responds sympathetically to nearby Victorian terraced housing. Landscaping is designed to encourage a sense of community and children's play.  

The project is due to be completed and occupied in late 2018. Its 105 homes will significantly boost UK Passivhaus numbers and offer clear proof that delivery at such a scale is achievable.



Client: Norwich City Council
Architect: Mikhail Riches
Contractor: RG Carter
M&E engineer: Greengauge
Passivhaus consultants: WARM
Timber frame: Cygnum Timber Frame
MVHR supplier: Green Building Store

Goldsmith Street photo Mikhail Riches
Goldsmith Street photo Cygnum Timber Frame Goldsmith Street photo Mikhail Riches


Drone footage - watch construction progress from above

Goldsmith Street Under Construction. Drone Footage - HexCam. Contractor - RG Carter. Client - Norwich City Council. from Mikhail Riches on Vimeo.


Further information

Previous PHT story: Norwich sets sights on UK Passivhaus capital - 28 May 2015

Previous PHT story: Fabric First framework for Passivhaus projects in Norwich - 30 April 2015

30th May 2018

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