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Passivhaus in new build and historic properties

— 11 Mar 2020


Glazing, especially on the south elevation, will increase solar gains


Sustainable technologies can be incorporated into new builds, such as this Georgian style property


Underfloor heating works well with heat pumps


Insulation is a good way to improve the energy efficiency of your home and can be put into existing properties as well as new builds

Barn conversion low energy v2

Having attended an initial Passivhaus training course last year, our Director Mark Raby has just completed training in how to use Passivhaus energy modelling software, which is applicable to retro-fitting existing buildings as well as new. This involves inputting all aspects of your building design into the PHPP (Passivhaus Planning Package) to ensure your design meets the strict criteria of the Passivhaus standard. The key element is to use less than 15 Watts per square metre of floor area which amounts to heating your house with the equivalent of a 100W lightbulb in each room.

In order to be very low energy a Passivhaus has to have the right balance of south facing windows of the right size, high insulation and airtightness as well as very efficient services. The additional cost of these design criteria is in the region of 5-15% of your build cost and would pay back in energy savings well within the first 30 years of the building’s life as well as being more sustainable. As most of the features are inbuilt and would last for the lifetime of the building, we should seriously consider constructing all new buildings to this standard and review how we can incorporate Passivhaus principles into traditionally constructed buildings.

Whether you are about to embark on a low energy build or would like to look at the performance of your existing building we would be happy to speak to you.

If you are not ready for the commitment to go for full certification we are still able to model your project and will be able to advise on the implications of adding extra glazing or more insulation backed up by a scientific method which will tell you the impact in terms of energy use and fluctuating temperatures within your house in each month of the year.

We also have experience in low and zero energy technologies such as heat pumps, biomass, photovoltaics, MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) and Solar Hot Water panels which would contribute to you achieving a low or zero energy building.

Please call our Taunton office to speak to Mark Raby or one of our other Architects to discuss your project.

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