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Passivhaus or Code of Sustainable Homes?

There has been some recent debate pitting one against the other as standards to be adopted in the UK. PDS is firmly committed to the Passivhaus standards and principals, but there is room for both in our move towards the low energy and sustainable home.

The Code of Sustainable Homes has many good requirements, but it is not an assessment tool that fully evaluates the impact resulting form the lower and lower energy demands that will come with higher reduction targets. The SAP tool to assess energy is not based on design principals that consider fully the impact on building fabric and materials as we increase thermal efficiency and air tightness.

Passivhaus is a more holistic approach and looks at investing in the building fabric rather than expensive renewables to achieve the low energy use in our buildings that will be required from 2015/6 and beyond. Passivhaus design if fully adopted provides a high level of internal comfort in both summer and winter, and when used with renewable technologies can provide a “zero” energy building.

Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP) provides potentially a universal assessment tool for buildings and would form a suitable alternative to SAP and other building energy assessment tools. If the UK Government wants to set lower attainment targets for energy reduction to that of other European states then PHPP could still be used provided we move away from obscure concepts of percentage improvements in the DER over the TER.

Terry Haigh
Certified Passiv House Designer
Passivhaus Design Solutions Ltd
11 November 2010

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