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.

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.

Derbyshire upgrade blitzes Enerphit target

Hitting the Enerphit standard can be challenging for even the most seasoned passive house specialist, so what chances did Kate and Geoff Ball’s semi-d have when the architect and builder had no passive experience? With a well-planned approach and no end of enthusiasm, they passed with flying colours, as Kate Ball explains.

Cork home hits 94 percent heat reduction with Enerphit

The vast majority of energy upgrade projects aim for low hanging fruit measures, and risk locking buildings and their occupants into needlessly high energy usage, environmental impact and discomfort. This recent home upgrade on the outskirts of Cork City shows what truly deep retrofit looks like.

1970s Devon home becomes certified passive B&B

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in a passive house, a B&B in Devon could be just the ticket. The winner of the private housing award at the 2013 UK Passivhaus Awards, this upgraded 1970s home proves that even existing buildings can be made passive.

Victorian passive upgrade

Turning an old Victorian home into a passive house is a painstaking job that would frighten many building professionals. But the team behind this innovative retrofit didn't just end up with a certified passive house, they got one of the lowest energy dwellings in the UK.

Monkstown semi-D sets deep retrofit example

A house in south Dublin recently became the first Irish building to become EnerPHit certified. Architect Joseph Little describes the challenges of meeting the Passive House Institute’s standard for upgrading existing building.

Certified passive nursing home extension breaks new ground

As Passive House Plus goes to press confirmation has come through that an extension to a nursing home in Celbridge, Co Kildare, has become the first healthcare building – and the first extension of any kind – to become certified passive.