Mixed use London scheme delivers passive at scale

The latest in a string of passive house projects by social housing providers, Octavia’s Housing’s new mixed-use development at Sulgrave Gardens embraced fabric first design on an awkward London site to help protect occupants against rising fuel costs.

International selection - issue 7

This issue’s Eurocentric selection is drawn from the International Isover Energy Efficiency Awards, including a German renovation that generates an energy surplus, a Danish nature reserve, a Romanian Solar Decathlon entry and a Polish church.

The small passive house problem - a solution?

It’s sometimes said to be hard – perhaps too hard – to get a small house to meet the passive house standard. But a small house will have small heating bills, so why is it hard for a small house to be a passive house? Leading passive house consultants Alan Clarke and Nick Grant delve into the passive house software to find out what’s going on.

How to save social housing blocks

Britain and Ireland’s post-war social housing blocks are seen as ugly and uncomfortable, and suffer from high energy bills, damp and mould. But three ambitious renovation projects show the answer doesn’t always lie in demolition.

Deep retrofit brings Victorian home up to Enerphit

There was a time when insulating an historic property meant treading lightly on its building fabric. But today, guided by building physics, passive house designers continue to push the boundaries of retrofit by bringing old homes up to modern standards of super-insulation. This project is the third such deep retrofit to an historic London property by Green Tomato Energy.

London upgrade future proofs historic building

The general consensus is that it’s not appropriate to upgrade historic buildings to avant garde energy efficiency levels, creating a sense that conservation of the natural and built environments may be mutually exclusive concerns. Not so, argue Arboreal Architecture’s Harry Paticas and passive house engineer Alan Clarke in an updated version of a paper presented at the 2014 International Passive House Conference, about a highly experimental upgrade to a London townhouse that may point to a sustainable solution.

Ireland's 1st hemp-built passive house

For self-builder James Byrne, building to the passive house standard was just one element of an approach that aimed to drastically reduce the environmental impact of his house — built from a hemp and lime system, it also features solar collectors, rainwater harvesting and natural wastewater treatment.

Traditional Irish cottage looks to the future

Despite its stop-start beginnings, this cottage in the west of Ireland delivers a traditional-but-stylish design with close-to-passive performance.

Modern Galway home delivers ultra low energy bills

When work began on this low energy, super airtight project in Co Galway it faced a tight budget and a market for passive house products that had yet to mature. But in the end its owner Hugh Whiriskey emerged with a comfortable home with stunningly low annual heating and hot water costs of just over a euro per square meter.

Building a better passive school

The team behind a series of passive house schools in Wolverhampton have used the lessons learned from in-depth monitoring of the first two buildings to make the third even better — and cheaper to build.

International selection - Issue 8

This year’s international Passive House Awards featured 21 projects — out of about 100 entries — across six different categories, with shortlisted projects coming from across Europe plus New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States. In this issue’s international section, we pick four buildings from an exceptional selection.

Natural ventilation - does it work?

Such is the importance of ventilation, it’s only right and proper that the efficacy of innovative mechanical solutions such as heat recovery ventilation and demand controlled mechanical extract ventilation is established
based on robust, comprehensive evidence. But how does natural ventilation fare when subjected to the same degree of scrutiny, and can it work in low energy buildings?

Nottingham upgrade achieves dramatic energy savings

Tina Holt had experience advising homeowners on energy efficiency, so when she wanted a low energy home, buying a run-down 1950s dwelling and aiming to turn it passive was an obvious step. She tells her own story below.

Barn-inspired passive house, Ayrshire

This certified passive house on the west coast of Scotland might look like a traditional hayshed, but it’s certainly more energy efficient than one.

Sussex social scheme pits passive against the code

In the absence of strong energy requirements under building regulations, much of the UK’s new build innovation has been driven by the Code for Sustainable Homes. Amid growing concern that the code’s attention to energy efficiency falls some way short of passive house, monitoring results from one social housing scheme offer a rare opportunity for direct comparison.

Laois self-builder goes hands-on to hit passive

In spite of having no construction experience Steve O’Rourke decided to make his self-build home a passive house, a feat achieved by a well-considered and collaborative approach.

Mallow build hits passive on a budget

Exploding the myth that passive house means unfamiliar construction methods and considerable expense, one Cork-based builder has gone passive using wide cavity wall construction – for a competitive cost of €100 per sq ft.

International - issue 6

This issue’s selection of international buildings include Spain’s first passive houses built from straw bales, an architecturally striking energy-plus office building in Denmark, and an Austrian family home that marries ecology, comfort and delightful design.

Passive house goes large

Passive house is no longer just the preserve of the self-builder. With over 300 passive houses built to date in multi unit-schemes and a thousand more on the way – along with major non-domestic builds – increasing numbers of British & Irish developers are going passive. But how will the sector cope with upscaling, and will the most cost-conscious developers be attracted to the standard?