Wednesday, 9 March 2016

To Passive House or not to Passive House

This week I went to Ecobuild, the annual exhibition devoted to sustainable building.  Normally I'm spoilt for choice with seminars, but this time I went for a meetup group with Ben Adam-Smith of House Planning Help podcast.

Ben gathered a small group of architects, builders and punters together to talk about self build and passive house projects.  

There were alarming accounts of the vagaries of the planning system.  These and other stories from professionals on some of the exhibition stands left me with an impression of a bunch of people sitting around making key decisions based on whimsy and personal taste.

I talked to one of the architects in the group, Paul Testa, who has been involved in a range of sustainable building projects.  He told me he uses the discipline of Passive House planning (PHPP planning software) for every project he does, even if clients don't want the expense of going for full certification.  To me that's strange and rather like coitus without an orgasm.

It's good to know that architects find the Passive House design process useful, even if the budget won't stretch to the full standard.  At least you know exactly how the building will perform and which areas have brought it below the PH level in energy and thermal efficiency terms.

Perhaps in time that will change.  Costs will inevitably come down and clients/property buyers will adopt Passive House as readily as solar panels.

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