News

Max Fordham House verified as UK’s first net zero carbon home

Max Fordham House in North London has become the first residential building in the UK to be verified as net zero carbon. Located in the London Borough of Camden, this certified passive house was designed for, and lived in by, the late legendary engineer Max Fordham.

General

Renfrewshire aims for 3,500 whole-house deep retrofits

A major new social housing retrofit programme by Renfrewshire Council will see up to 3,500 local authority dwellings renovated to either Enerphit or the AECB Retrofit Standard.

Projects

UK’s first passive leisure centre nears completion

St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre in Exeter, the first passive-certified leisure centre in the UK, is set to open to the public on 29 April

Projects

New EU law will mandate renovation of inefficient buildings

Green groups criticise lack of focus on embodied carbon. The European Commission is proposing sweeping changes to the way in which energy ratings for buildings are allocated, in a bid to stimulate the retrofit of the worst performing buildings across Europe.

General

Rebuilt Low Energy Buildings Database to become key international resource

Leading sustainable building association the AECB has secured funding to create an international resource to share detailed information on low energy buildings in the UK, Ireland and, ultimately, internationally, via a rebuild of the Low Energy Buildings Database (LEBD).

Projects

Disappointment at new building energy standards

Review finds that SAP is not fit for purpose, by Kate de Selincourt.

General

TEDx passive house talk now available online

Passive House Plus editor and publisher Jeff Colley’s TEDx talk on the passive house standard is now available to view online.

Events

Welsh social housing to embrace passive house, timber & life cycle assessment

The Welsh government has issued a new standard for social housing that requires an embodied carbon assessment, favours timber-based offsite construction, and bans fossil fuel boilers.

General

UK sustainable building groups become UN centres of excellence

At COP26, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recognised the UK’s Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), along with South West College in Northern Ireland and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, as international centres of excellence for high performance buildings.

Large Buildings

Poor ventilation a Covid risk in 40 per cent of classrooms, study finds

Coventry University research has found that 40 per cent of primary school classrooms examined in a study did not have an adequate ventilation rate to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Ventilation

COP26 house to showcase fabric first, low carbon build methods

A new demonstration house currently being erected in Glasgow in advance of this year’s COP26 climate conference will showcase build systems and methods for achieving zero carbon housing to the world.

Events

Oil heating sector pivots to biofuels, but green groups raise concern

The UK and Ireland’s oil heating industry says it has taken a “major step forward” in the use of biofuels in domestic oil boilers, with early tests concluding that hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) works in virtually all existing oil boilers.

General

Architects call for urgent climate action ahead of COP 26

Ahead of the Built Environment Summit (28-29 October) and COP26 (1-12 November), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Declare have published a report demonstrating the critical role the sector must play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change

Passive house celebrates 30th birthday at international conference

The Passive House Institute celebrated the low energy standard’s 30th birthday at the 25th International Passive House Conference in September. Around seven hundred participants registered for the conference, which mostly took place online due to Covid.

General

Window-opening unreliable for ventilation, study finds

A comparison between two pairs of households in Switzerland suggests that people do not reliably compensate for lack of mechanical ventilation with more window opening.

Ventilation

Study confirms “systematic inequalities” in indoor air pollution

A new analysis of the exposure of London households to indoor pollutants highlights “systematic inequalities” in exposure, overwhelmingly driven by factors beyond the control of those people worst affected.

Ventilation

International passive house conference kicks off

The winners of the international Passive House Award will be announced on Friday 10 September as part of the 25th International Passive House Conference, which is fully available online. Tickets to the conference are still available.

Events

Growing use of CO2 monitors to slow Covid spread

While the Irish government is delivering CO2 monitors to schools to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, and some European regions have mandated the use of such monitors in all buildings open to the public, the UK has yet to introduce such measures and has removed the requirement for mask-wearing in schools.

coronavirus

Agar Grove, Larch Corner & Cranmer Road win at Passivhaus Awards

The redevelopment of Agar Grove by Camden Council in London was the winner of the large project award at this year’s UK Passivhaus Awards, which were held on 30 June.

Events

Passive House Plus editor to speak at TEDx

Passive House Plus editor Jeff Colley will be speaking at the TEDx Tralee event on 15 October.

Events

Erne Campus is world’s largest passive house premium building

South West College’s new Erne Campus building in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, is the world’s largest, and the first educational building, to be certified to the passive house premium standard, the Passive House Institute has confirmed.

General

Cavity wall builds can meet RIBA carbon targets, new analysis suggests

A detailed analysis of the embodied carbon of six common build types has indicated that dwellings built with business-as-usual build specs of cavity wall construction and strip foundations may be able to meet the revised embodied carbon targets for dwellings in RIBA’s 2030 Climate Challenge.

General

Passive house turns 30

The passive house standard is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The world’s first passive houses were built in Darmstadt, Germany in 1991.

General

Thermal breaks webinar - watch online

On June 8, 2021 Passive House Plus, in association with Farrat, chaired a hugely informative roundtable on thermal breaks. If you missed it, the video can now be viewed online.

General

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Marketplace

Mitsubishi heat pumps 6-7 times lower CO2 than condensing gas boilers

Mitsubishi heat pumps 6-7 times lower CO2 than condensing gas boilers

Leading sustainable heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric has produced analysis showing the whole life carbon calculations of its heat pumps may be six to seven times lower than comparable condensing gas boilers.

13-05-2022 Marketplace

Ecological disappointed at ‘unambitious’ Part L

Ecological Building Systems has expressed its disappointment with the latest updates to Part L of the building regulations in England.

13-05-2022 Marketplace

Andy Mitchell appointed CEO of Green Building Store

Andy Mitchell appointed CEO of Green Building Store

Green Building Store has announced the appointment of Andy Mitchell as its new managing director, helping to build on the company’s established position at the forefront of the low energy and passive house building market.

13-05-2022 Marketplace

Steico offering free wood fibre insulation samples

Steico offering free wood fibre insulation samples

Leading German wood fibre manufacturer Steico is now offering free samples of its Steicoflex wood fibre insulation to anyone in the UK or Ireland who requests it.

13-05-2022 Marketplace

Blogs

Lifting retrofit out of its silo

There has been a sleuth of recent reports on how to retrofit Britain’s existing homes, but we must think deeper than the practical matter of reducing energy and carbon, to how we create beautiful places to live, writes Peter Rickaby.

Blogs

The 1980s: A renewable revolution undermined

The 1980s: A renewable revolution undermined

Marc O Riain explores how policy on both side of the Atlantic in the 1980s sabotaged a nascent revolution in renewables and energy conservation.

Blogs

How do breather membranes work?

How do breather membranes work?

How do underlays manage to let water vapour through while keeping the rain out? Toby Cambray delves into the physics…

Blogs

Let’s get decarbonisation done

While there is much debate about whether we should prioritise retrofitting homes or installing heat pumps, the climate crisis means we may not have a choice but to do both as fast as possible, writes Toby Cambray.

Blogs

The Saskatchewan House, 1977

The Saskatchewan House, 1977

In his latest column on the history of low energy building during the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks back at the Saskatchewan House, which was built in Canada in 1977, and established the principle of prioritising energy demand reduction over active systems.

Blogs

Why the Green Homes Grant failed

Why the Green Homes Grant failed

The Green Homes Grant scheme failed because politicians failed to heed more than a decade of lessons about how to do retrofit well, writes Dr Peter Rickaby, and now there will be an even bigger hill to climb.

Blogs

On the 3D printing of buildings

On the 3D printing of buildings

Building physics expert Toby Cambray finds himself unconvinced by the merits of a new home in the Netherlands that has been 3D printed with concrete.

Blogs

The emergence of thermal bridging & thermal bypass

The emergence of thermal bridging & thermal bypass

In his latest column, Dr Marc Ó Riain takes a look back at the some of the first projects to address the phenomena of thermal bridging and thermal bypass in buildings.

Blogs

Measuring humidity, the old school way

Measuring humidity, the old school way

A chance purchase on eBay leads buildings physics expert Toby Cambray to admire the aesthetics and mechanics of old scientific instruments.

Blogs

Shooting the moon

Shooting the moon

The concept of building back better and greener, popular early in the pandemic, is now in danger of being abandoned in the rush to return to ‘normal’ — but we always have the power to shape what normal is, writes Dr Peter Rickaby.

Blogs

1970s Arkansas & Illinois prototypes: progress towards passive house

1970s Arkansas & Illinois prototypes: progress towards passive house

In his latest column, Dr Marc O’Riain looks back at two American prototypes for the passive house standard that embraced heat pump technology as well as principles of superinsulation and airtightness.

Blogs

Is Enerphit the key to decarbonising existing homes?

Is Enerphit the key to decarbonising existing homes?

With increasing attention turning to cutting carbon emissions from existing homes to meet carbon reduction targets, Duncan Smith, housing asset and energy strategy manager at Renfrewshire County Council in Scotland, argues that approaches which improve comfort and dramatically reduce energy bills must be front and centre.

Blogs

The PH+ guides

Timber frame & mass timber: the Passive House Plus guide to structural timber construction

Timber frame & mass timber: the Passive House Plus guide to structural timber construction

Fuelled by the need to build quickly and to increasingly tight sustainability standards, the market for timber frame and mass timber construction is growing rapidly. This detailed guide covers many of the main established and emerging techniques, and looks at key issues to address if you’re considering a timber-based build.

05-07-2019 Guides

The PH+ guide to insulating foundations

The PH+ guide to insulating foundations

While understanding wall and roof insulation is relatively straightforward, insulation under the ground floor can be a bit of a mystery by comparison. Not only is it buried in the ground, but there are notoriously tricky spots like the wall-floor junction that need to be detailed and insulated properly. And the design of your foundation often depends on site conditions and the type of structure you’re going to build, too. In this guide, we explain some different ways of insulating one of the most challenging parts of the building envelope.

10-06-2019 Guides

The PH+ guide to airtightness

The PH+ guide to airtightness

Once poorly understood by the mainstream building industry, airtightness is now increasingly seen as one of the most crucial objectives on any building project. Not only is it vital for energy efficiency, it’s also key for thermal comfort and for protecting a building’s structure from dampness and mould. In this comprehensive guide to airtightness, we look at why it’s so important, how exactly it’s measured, and most importantly, how to achieve it on site.

04-02-2019 Guides

The PH+ guide to thermal breaks

The PH+ guide to thermal breaks

Building physics take no prisoners. Anyone designing, constructing or upgrading the thermal envelope of a building to modern energy performance levels is duty bound to understand and minimise thermal bridging, or suffer the consequences. One-man thermal bridging encyclopaedia Andrew Lundberg of Passivate, who teaches thermal bridging analysis at Dublin Institute of Technology, gives some practical advice on why and how to tackle thermal bridging head on, and describes some of the leading innovations in thermally broken components.

19-04-2018 Guides