London encouraged to adopt its own building energy standard.
Investigations may eventually confirm the specifics of how the fire at the West London tower block spread so catastrophically on the night of 14 June, but the government and construction industry faces much deeper questions about whether a culture of deregulation, cost-cutting and buck-passing turned what should have been a small, inconsequential fire into a national tragedy.
The gradual decarbonisation of our electricity grids — as renewable energy is phased in, while coal and peat are phased out — coupled with the proliferation of new buildings with very limited heat demand, has some experts asking if heating our homes and offices directly with electricity is starting to make sense again. So is it time to bring back the dreaded storage heater?
2016’s UK Passivhaus Conference, which took place in London in October, was the biggest yet, with 300 delegates and another 100 visitors to the expo that ran in parallel. Also in attendance were students from half a dozen architecture schools, some of whom had risen before dawn for the chance to attend.
Completed early this year, the new Centre for Medicine at the University of Leicester is by far the largest single building in the UK to meet the passive house standard — and not surprisingly, its design and construction posed tough new challenges for how to meet the rigorous low energy standard on such a large, complicated building.
Upgrading a historic home to the passive house standard typically means leaving the façade untouched to preserve the building’s historic appearance, but the team behind this fully passive retrofit in Kensal Green took a totally different approach.
New evidence indicates that decentralised MEV systems – an increasingly popular option, now questions are being raised over the standard “background-plus-intermittent extract” ventilation strategy – can also fail to provide adequate indoor air quality, and may even perform worse than the standard approach in new build homes.
Thanks to fabric-first energy performance approaches such as passive house, heating demand is collapsing. So how does district heating stack up in buildings which need such little heat?
A deep retrofit of this 1960s block-built home turned it into a modern ultra low-energy home that emphasises wood, light and natural materials.