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Ultra low energy homes

Oct 11

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11/10/2010 09:11  RssIcon

New film makes the case for Passivhaus low energy building in the UK


Passivhaus (translated as 'passive house' in English) is an approach to designing ultra low energy homes and buildings that is beginning to sweep the nation. On Tuesday 12th October 2010, sustainable building products supplier, Green Building Store, launches 'Future Passiv' a short 10 minute documentary which makes the case for Passivhaus as a standard for all UK new builds - and even for the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Presented by eco broadcaster Penney Poyzer (BBC2's "No Waste like Home"), 'Future Passiv' features Green Building Store's Denby Dale Passivhaus project in West Yorkshire and outlines the many advantages of the Passivhaus approach to low energy building. As well as offering incredibly cheap heating bills (heating costs for the Denby Dale Passivhaus are expected to be around £75 per year), Passivhaus buildings can also make a significant contribution to tackling climate change, as well as being very comfortable to live in. 'Future Passiv' includes interviews with the owners of the Denby Dale Passivhaus and looks at the way in which Passivhaus design is really beginning to take off in the UK including housing associations, schools, offices and community centres as well as private homes.

Passivhaus design can create buildings which use 90% less energy for space heating than standard UK buildings. Based on the principle that reducing heating loss to the minimum is the most cost-effective way of creating a low carbon building, Passivhaus design relies on a simple 'tea cosy' effect maximising the use of super insulation and stringent airtightness. By combining this with passive solar gain and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) systems, Passivhaus design can create healthy and comfortable buildings that require minimal heating.

Penney Poyzer said,

"Passivhaus is a philosophy in itself. It is a mix of applied physics, common sense and practical wisdom and it can be applied to any type of building, not just housing. It can be applied to new build or retrofit. It is a proven technique which shows that it is entirely practical and feasible to aim for buildings that use 90% less energy than our current standard for buildings. If the UK is to achieve massive reductions in carbon then it is essential that we tackle the built environment. Across Europe, buildings account for 60% of carbon emissions. I believe that Passivhaus can slash those emissions now."

The 'Future Passiv' documentary is part of a larger film 'Passivhaus low energy building in the UK'  project which includes a 60 minute technical film for building professionals, covering all stages of construction of the Denby Dale Passivhaus  - the UK's first Passivhaus to be built using traditional British cavity wall construction methods. With a Foreword by Jonathon Porritt, the film sets out to offer the UK construction industry a template for building ultra low energy Passivhaus buildings using construction methods and materials familiar to UK builders and designers.

The Future Passiv documentary and Denby Dale Passivhaus technical film will be freely available to view at Green Building Store's website from 12/10/10. A free technical briefing (40 page pdf) is also available to those registering at:

'Future Passiv' and 'Passivhaus low energy building in the UK' were filmed and edited by student film-makers and were made possible thanks to the kind sponsorship of Kirklees Council.






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