Passivhaus Affiliate

26 council homes certified at Chester Long Court

Chester Long Court social housing block

PHT Member Gale & Snowden first began working with PHT Patron Member Exeter City Council (ECC) in 2008 to design and deliver new-build, council-owned homes to optimise underused sites in the city. ECC was one of the first councils in the UK to once again begin developing new housing and their brief was exacting, leading the way in environmental aspirations.

The latest phase, Chester Long Court (formally known as "Rennes") in Whipton, delivers 26 high quality, affordable, Lifetime Homes compliant, healthy, certified Passivhaus flats for Exeter’s social tenants who will begin moving in in October 2018. The development, including one fully-accessible wheelchair unit, is aimed at providing downsizing apartments for over-60s, in turn freeing up larger council-owned homes for families in need. 

Chester Long Court will push the number of Passivhaus dwellings developed by Exeter City Council, in collaboration with Gale & Snowden, beyond 100.

Based on their previous experience, this design represents the latest step in Gale & Snowden’s approach to Passivhaus. Utilising a monolithic clay block construction with high performance render externally and plaster internally means an entirely mineral wall build-up which is hygroscopic, helping to regulate internal humidity. Designed around the large format block coursing, construction time is greatly reduced, drying out period is minimised, and come the end of the building’s life, the construction can be simply crushed up without the need for separation and disposal of composite elements.

Energy Performance 



Thermal Energy Demand (≤15kWh/m².yr)


Thermal Energy Load (≤10W/m²)


Primary E Demand (≤120kWh/m².yr)


The designs have been conceived to mitigate against predicted future climate change using Exeter University’s Prometheus weather data up to 2080.

The flats at Chester Long Court provide exemplar healthy living conditions based on Building Biology principles featuring: non-toxic, organic and easily cleanable materials and surfaces; excellent air quality; high levels of thermal comfort and daylight; and good specification to minimise electromagnetic radiation. Air quality in the homes is maintained to a high standard via highly efficient mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery (MVHR).


Chester Long Court interior, kitchen

Key Stats

Number of Units: 26
Number of Occupants: 52
Treated Floor Area: 1367m²
Construction: Solid Masonry
Construction Start Date: May 2016
Certification Date: 10 August 2018

Chester Long Court wall Chester Long Court interior, lounge


Project Owner/Client: Exeter City Council
Architect & Consultants: Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.
Certifier: WARM
Structural and Civil Engineers: StructureHaus
Project Manager: Randall Simmonds

Chester Long Court 26 Units

Further Information

Previous PHT story: Planning approval granted for Exeter social housing scheme for 26 homes - 10 September 2015

External and in-construction images ©Gale and Snowden Ltd.

Internal, show flat images ©Apex.

25th September 2018

< Back To News