Getting Passive House into the mainstream
Having spent a year and a half doing research into what houses we should be building in the 21st century, I have never ventured far from the Passive House standard. The reason for this is that it makes sense! That's not to say that I haven't come across criticism.
Martin Holladay from Green Building Advisor was most vocal, suggesting that it demands too much insulation in cold climates and that the goals for annual energy use are arbitrary. When it comes to retrofitting I know that quite a lot of people get a bit edgy, as well! Does this mean that I turn my back on the standard and dabble with the bits I do like? I don't think so. Clearly we all have to make up our own minds but personally I feel it's doing more for quality than anything else I have found this far.
While readers of Passive House Plus may be extremely familiar with the standard, the average person hasn't even heard of it, let alone stayed in a certified dwelling. That's one reason why I feel fortunate. Over time I have not only been invited to view these highly energy-efficient buildings but on occasion I've had the chance to stay over. This means that I really understand, first hand, what a step up - on multiple levels - living like this can be. I have yet to meet a single person who, having made the switch, has decided to return the old way of doing things.
What I'm getting at is that the Passive House standard may not be perfect but it is a massive stride forwards. And show me something in life that is perfect?! Passive House is also backed by a passionate community who are happy to share their experience and in my book that counts for a lot.
From the outset my blog, House Planning Help, has tried to stimulate discussion. That's all I want to do, take the message further and then let people decide for themselves. And that conveniently brings me to the business end of this post! I have launched a crowd-funding campaign to make a documentary on airtightness. I have chosen this as the focus for a couple of reasons. Firstly, in 2012 Faith Morgan successfully crowd-funded a documentary on Kickstarter called 'Passive House: A Building Revolution' (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/226402443/passive-house-a-building-revolution) and I didn't want to repeat this. Secondly, I feel that airtightness is the factor that is most alien to people and it's the most important. Of course, we'll make it clear that this can't be something that is done in isolation but there are interesting avenues to explore, testing the airtightness of any of the UK's housing stock.
So I've enlisted the help of air leakage expert Paul Jennings from Aldas and I'm going to spend some time with him as he goes about his work. Hopefully I'll be able to meet home-owners and tradesmen along the way, too.
As this is a crowd-funding project, it only goes ahead if we hit our funding goal. We're not talking about a massive amount of money, but enough to cover our costs, do this properly and create content which would otherwise not exist. So if you can back this project and help move us closer to our target we would really appreciate it. Thank you.