Cambridge choses passive house comfort for Kings’ College students stars

Most people think of cold, cramped and poor-quality buildings when they think of student accommodation, but two new passive house residences at King’s College, Cambridge are rewriting the rulebook, with their focus on occupant comfort, architectural quality, and an enlightened, long-term view of construction costs.

Pitch perfect - Beguiling Dundee passive house puts wood into woodland

An intriguing new passive house in Dundee takes the traditional ‘box’ form associated with the standard and turns it on its head, using a series of pitched roofs and different claddings to make it feel more like a traditional city terrace than a single dwelling – built with a heavy emphasis on carbon sequestering materials.

International - Issue 38

This issue features a new nursery school in Paris, built to the Passive House Institute’s low energy building standard.

Seeing the wood for the trees - Placing ecology at the heart of construction

In recent years, as energy efficiency targets for new buildings have tightened, attention has turned to cutting the embodied carbon of buildings by switching from materials like concrete and steel to lower carbon alternatives like timber. But if we are serious about solving the ecological emergency as well as stabilising the climate, we must look even further than embodied carbon, and think more deeply about the core values we apply to materials and buildings, and the manner in which we use them.

By Lenny Antonelli & AECB CEO Andy Simmonds

Runaway train

Following its commitment to retrofit one quarter of dwellings in the country by 2030, the Irish government has now announced the establishment of four new centres of excellence for retrofit training, building on the training approach developed to help the industry meet the NZEB standard for new buildings. Workers from state-owned company Bord na Móna are among the first to undergo training as the company transitions out of peat extraction.

Senior college

The extensive energy and ventilation upgrade of 12 run-down bungalows at College View sheltered housing scheme in Wexford town not only transformed the lives and comfort of residents, but an extensive period of post-occupancy study has yielded important lessons for future projects.

International - Issue 37

This issue features the University of Chicago’s Warren Woods ecological field station, which was the first passive certified building of its type in North America.

Boxing clever

This all-wood passive-certified home in the village of Kippen was built directly by its architect owners, who not only achieved the passive house standard but did so with an ecological approach that sought to use building materials ultra-efficiently and make it easy to deconstruct and recycle the building at the end of its life.

Spectacular Vernacular

A new passive house on Galway Bay beautifully blends vernacular design with touches of Arts & Crafts while still appearing thoroughly contemporary, but under its neat exterior is the thinking of an architectural practice striving to reduce the environmental impact of its buildings, inspired by the Architects Declare pledge.

Playing all the angles

Angle House in north London is a wonderful example of sustainable urban housing: modest in scale and built on a run-down site in the heart of north London, it boasts a passive approach to energy efficiency and some beautiful design touches.

Up with the lark

Lark Rise is an elegant new passive house in rural Buckinghamshire designed by bere:architects, but it is more than ‘just’ a passive house. Because it produces and stores so much of its own energy through on-site solar power, it is a certified passive house ‘plus’, and in this article, its architect Justin Bere explains how dwellings like this can play a key role in decarbonising our economies and societies in the coming decades.

Inside the UK’s largest passive school

With a decade of experience designing primary schools to the passive house standard under their belt, Architype have now designed the UK’s first passive secondary school — and all of the evidence suggests there is no better way to ensure a healthy, comfortable environment that is supremely conducive to learning.

New England rebel - Cork passive house with Vermont roots

A stunning new passive house in Cork breaks the conventions of passive house form with a design that manages to be both dramatic yet discreet at the same time, inspired by a US project to contort itself beautifully into its steeply sloping site.

The PH+ guide to overheating

As awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis grows, efforts to kickstart en masse deep energy efficiency interventions are gathering apace. But poorly conceived low energy building efforts can lead to unintended consequences including overheating – a risk that’s bound to grow as the world warms up. Phi Architecture co-founder Claire Jamieson details the risks and offers some solutions on how to create low energy buildings that are comfortable in summer and winter.

Quantifying the greenness of construction products: the rise of environmental product declarations

Climate breakdown and global ecological crises mean that our efforts to make buildings sustainable must go far beyond operational energy use – including number crunching and drastically reducing environmental impacts of building materials. John Cradden reports on progress in the uptake of the building blocks of life cycle analysis of buildings: Environmental Product Declarations.

Evidence base: How air source heat pumps fare in canny retrofits

Air source heat pumps are rapidly becoming one of the dominant technologies in sustainable building, but how well do they perform in real world conditions? Can they be part of the solution to retrofitting homes, given the challenges in making existing homes suitable for low energy heating? A rare monitoring study on a pioneering retrofit scheme offers encouraging signs.

Radon in passive houses

Radon is one of the most dangerous indoor air pollutants, yet there is little research on how it is affected by different forms of construction and ventilation. A new study, however, suggests that homes built to the passive house standard are significantly less at risk of radon build-up.