Fermanagh schoolhouse reborn as passive family home

The abandoned husk of a 1960s school building sounds a very long way from a comfortable, ultra low energy family home. Thanks to a remarkable upgrade effort – influenced by reading Passive House Plus – one Fermanagh family are reaping the rewards of one such transformation. 

Hastoe Scheme adds to passive affordable housing trend

With a number of trailblazing housing associations and councils building social and affordable housing schemes repeatedly to passive standards, the notion that the world’s leading low energy building standard is the preserve of the well-off doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, as Hastoe’s latest Essex passive house scheme demonstrates. 

Simple-yet-stylish West Berkshire passive house that bore a business

This new timber frame home in the south of England met the passive house standard despite a less-than-optimum orientation, launched a brand new design-and-build venture between its architect and project manager, and embraced a subtle-yet-elegant design that maintains a simple passive house form while drawing inspiration from the local vernacular. 

Affordable passive scheme that beggars belief

It may sound too good to be true, but a new scheme of semi-Ds in Co Wexford proves that passive houses can be remarkably affordable to buy – and that’s with net zero heating and hot water costs, and the soundproofing levels of a cinema.

 

International selection - issue 15

The Living Building Challenge is arguably the world’s toughest environmental building certification program. In order to achieve the award, buildings must meet rigorous standards in seven different performance categories, also known as ‘petals’: place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. Our selection includes three American buildings that have been certified to one of these standards. 

How to stimulate deep retrofit

There was a time when governments thought that simply offering grants for cavity wall insulation and heating system upgrades would be enough to stimulate mass upgrade of our building stock. But ‘shallow’ measures such as these may not be sufficient to drastically cut carbon emissions and make a real difference to occupant comfort and health, and convincing homeowners to upgrade their homes to a much higher standard will require a clever mix of psychology and smart financing 

Delivering passive house at scale

Dublin is on the verge of taking a giant leap forward for construction, with two major authorities in the region set to make the passive house standard mandatory for new buildings. Can Ireland’s mainstream building sector rise to this challenge, and what can it learn from experience of big passive house projects across the water in the UK? 

Low energy Waterford retrofit with a classic look & feel

Builder Conor Walsh undertook an ambitious partial rebuild, partial retrofit to this 1960s bungalow, delivering deep energy savings and turning it into a modern family home 

Bristol deep retrofit proves worth with monitoring

This unique energy retrofit in Bristol walked a fine line between ambition and pragmatism to deliver a healthy, comfortable and ultra-low energy home 

International selection - issue 14

This issue’s collection of inspiring international passive houses includes a striking Black Forest family home, the world’s first ‘passive house premium’ building, a deeply ecological Canadian house, and a New York tower that’s set to be the world’s tallest passive house.

PHPP 9 & designPH

The latest versions of PHPP and designPH are intended to make passive house design both easier and more accurate than ever before — and to plan for a future powered by renewable energy. Jan Steiger of the Passive House Institute explains the latest features of both software packages.

Energiesprong

The Energiesprong initiative is planning to deliver drastic energy upgrades to over 100,000 homes in the Netherlands using a wildly ambitious approach to retrofitting the country’s building stock. Now the organisation has moved to the UK, where it is hoping to undertake its first projects next year.

Overheating - a growing threat that mustn't be ignored

As the climates gets warmer, overheating in buildings is likely to get worse — particularly given the modern architectural preference for huge expanses of unshaded glass. But what really causes overheating, is it really worse in low energy buildings, how do passive houses fare, and what can be done to prevent it?

Material impacts

For decades now, European countries have been regulating the amount of energy new buildings can consume for heating and electricity. But as these standards get ever tighter, is time to start controlling the embodied energy and wider environmental impact of building materials — and what’s the best way to do it?

The UK's greenest ever retrofit - 6 years on

This pioneering upgrade project, completed in 2009, turned a Victorian redbrick in Birmingham into one of the UK’s greenest homes. Along with a much wider ecological agenda, the house employed fabric first principles
of insulation and airtightness, and met passive house design targets at a time when the standard was still in its infancy in the UK.

Cork bungalow upgrade phased over 12 years

It’s taken Mick Kiernan more than 10 years to upgrade his Cork bungalow, and it’s still not finished. But along the way he discovered the passive house standard and let its principles guide his way towards a warm, airtight and healthy home. 

Devon one off pushes limits of passive

Huge expanses of unshaded glass are usually a taboo for passive house designers, but with his clients insistent on maximising their wide-angle coastal panorama, this project’s architect found clever ways to integrate the passive house approach with wrapping the house’s ground floor in glass.