Passive sheltered scheme 500 years in the making stars

Taking its cues from the original historic almshouse on site, St John’s Lichfield chose to build their new sheltered housing development for older persons to the passive house standard as part of high-quality design that emphasised community, calm and comfort.

The UK's first green oak passive house

Choosing newly-harvested green oak — which shrinks and moves as it dries — for the millimetre-precise demands of passive house construction was a bold move by Phil Garnett and his wife Yvonne, but one that ultimately gave them one of the most unique and ground-breaking passive homes in the UK.

Armagh passive house hides in plain sight

A new family home in County Armagh blends together a traditional, clustered farmhouse style and a modern aesthetic so seamlessly, you would never even guess it’s a certified passive house.

Home farm

While a tight budget meant some of the more ambitious eco features planned for this simple and graceful new farmhouse had to be dropped, it still manages to meet Ireland’s standard for nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs) thanks to a combination of superb detailing and fabric-first design.

Tipperary Energy Agency at 20

One of Ireland’s pioneering and most consequential green organisations, Tipperary Energy Agency, turned 20 at the end of February, evolving from one man buried in sawdust to a 24 strong team whose efforts are influencing national policy and earning European plaudits. But why has the agency endured and grown, and what lessons can be learned to help others play their part in delivering the transition we so urgently need to low energy buildings and clean energy generation? Two of the central figures in the agency’s development spill the beans, along with some of the many partners the agency has worked with over the years.

The Curly House, West Sussex

Built on a particularly exposed site near Chichester where winter temperatures plummet all too frequently – down as low as minus sixteen – the award-winning Curly House had to overcome several challenges.

The PH+ guide to insulating concrete formwork

As demand for super-insulated and airtight building structures grows, insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is rapidly gaining popularity as a method of construction. But what exactly is ICF, what are its key advantages, and why is it so well suited to passive house and low energy construction?

Future proof: designing buildings that withstand climate change

Over the past year cold snaps, heat waves and severe storms have all brought the reality of the climate crisis home to the UK and Ireland. But with the climate changing in fast and uncertain ways, how can we construct buildings that will remain resilient — and keep their occupants healthy and comfortable — long into the future?

Slope and glory

When architect Tony Godwin wandered into a seminar on the passive house standard at Ecobuild ten years ago, it was the start of a journey that would eventually see him design and build his own passive home on a sloping site — and learn some hard lessons along the way to achieving a comfortable, ultra-low energy family home with tiny energy bills.

All bales, no bills

In the classic story of the three little pigs, the big bad wolf may have blown down the first little piggy’s house of straw with consummate ease — but he wasn’t reckoning with this pioneering, energy bill-shredding Suffolk project, the UK’s first load-bearing straw bale passive house

International: Issue 25

A selection of passive & eco builds from around the world, this issue features a boat designed according to passive house principles, with the artic climate in mind, and a contemporary passive house by Key Architects on Japan’s rural Shikoku Island.

Historic London house gets near passive transformation

The default answer when you want to do pretty much anything to a listed building is ‘no’. The default assumption if you want to achieve the Enerphit standard for retrofit is ‘tackle everything’. So how on earth do you retrofit a listed building to within a whisker of the Enerphit standard — with the blessing of the conservation officer?

Granite-hewn Victorian home upgraded to PHI low energy standard

Built in 1850, this home in Dartmoor national park would have relied on local timber supplies for heating until the advent of widely-available central heating. One passive house-flavoured retrofit later, it’s back to its wood-burning roots – only this time with much less wood use, and much higher comfort.

From derelict shop to tiny low energy home

In 2014, one couple decided to give up life in a van and convert an old newsagents in Shrewsbury into a very small low energy home, using the principles of the passive house standard as their guide. So how did it work out, and what is life really like in such a small home?

The PH+ guide to air source heat pumps

As electricity supply from renewable sources continues to grow, and electricity grids gradually decarbonise as dirtier fossil fuels are phased out, heating homes with electrical technologies like heat pumps starts to make more sense. And in the mild, temperate climate of Britain and Ireland, air source heat pumps are particularly suitable — especially as new build standards of energy efficiency continue to tighten, meaning new homes need less and less energy to achieve comfortable indoor temperatures. But how do air source heat pumps work, what types are there, and how much do they cost to run? Our in-depth guide attempts to answer the key questions.

Thermal bridging: risk & opportunity

Assessment of thermal bridges is the low hanging fruit lining the path to passive house and low-energy building, according to leading thermal modeller Andy Lundberg of Passivate, who says that taking the time to understand thermal bridging and to minimise and calculate it properly is essential to delivering cost optimal low energy buildings without an Achilles heel.