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The idea of energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions is not a new one. But it is one we are hearing more and more about in recent times. and when it comes to reducing energy, the name PassivHaus can easily be thrown into the conversation.
Passivhaus architects are the people who are carrying forward the method designed by Dr Wolfgang Feist in Germany. The method first came to the fore some two decades ago, so you could say he was ahead of his time. His method for home building doesn’t focus on CO2 emissions or using materials from sustainable sources. Instead it focuses on building homes with two energy requirements – that of space heating and another which applies to other energy requirements as well. These include main appliances and hot water.
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In a word, no. In the UK we have to build according to the Code for Sustainable Homes. Some self builders are excited about the German model for building and are sticking with this method too, giving themselves even more targets to hit in the process.
But how effective is the PassivHaus standard? The cost of a new build is typically worked out to how much you pay per square metre. It has been calculated that this German ideal will cost you significantly more to adhere to, as it affects every single part of your new home. Suddenly a standard that sounded like very good news doesn’t sound quite so appealing, especially since this is optional and the Code in the UK is mandatory.
This is the main thing to think about before you opt to meet the conditions imposed by one of these German houses on top of the conditions applied through the Code for Sustainable Homes. If you were to compare a Code built home with one built to the German standard, the main source of energy is very different. More than half the energy in the PassivHaus goes to power, while just over half the energy in a Code built home is given to space heating. In fact the amount of energy given to power in a UK Code built home is half that of the PassivHaus.
So you have to bear this in mind when you are thinking about this option on top of the requirement laid down by the Code for Sustainable Homes. If you are going to build a brand new home you have to adhere to the Code. But you don’t have to pay any attention to the ‘passiv’ way of building. While some home builders have become obsessed with the German way, it may not have been prudent to do so. After all, it is said the UK Code for Sustainable Homes provides a far more in depth and demanding set of criteria to adhere to. Isn’t that the main thing you should bear in mind when building your own eco-friendly home?
What are your thoughts on PassivHaus?
Guest post by SolarPanels.co.uk