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30 EXPLORING CURRENT THINKING ON PASSIVHAUS


clients” (61 per cent), and architects themselves (56 per cent). The overall low carbon agenda was also a big driver, according to 45 per cent of respondents, and The Future Homes Standard was perhaps surprisingly a key factor for 30 per cent of respondents. Lastly, clients’ Corporate Social Responsibility goals accounted for 20 per cent of responses. Government, builders merchants and the wider supply chain, “marketing to enthusiasts,” and simply the available skills in a certain aren, were other factors.


Methods Timber frame was way out in front, with 37 per cent of respondents saying it was their preferred route for Passivhaus, compared with 4 per cent for both concrete and steel alternatives. SiPS frames were popular with 19 per cent of respondents. One commenter however suggested that traditional timber frame “is unsuited to Passivhaus,” with better approaches being “balloon frame and hybrid balloon frame construction.” For achieving air-tightness, respondents favoured a hybrid approach (18 per cent), with solely membrane-based gaining 10 per cent of votes, taping joints 7 per cent, and sprayed membranes just 1 per cent from our survey sample.


Renewables were ranked in order of importance for Passivhaus, with MVHR some way clear of the pack. This was followed by, in descending order, solar PV, air source and ground source heat pumps, solar thermal, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, biomass, microhydropower, and finally water boreholes.


Questions for industry


The survey also asked whether architects had seen an increased demand for Passivhaus over the past five years, with 83 per cent said they had noticed this happening. Reasons given for this included awareness of indoor air quality and other health benefits, and reduction in the cost of achieving Passivhaus, but also quality concerns around volume housebuilding. There were also issues around achieving an increase in take-up according to respondents, such as there “not being enough information, or enough Government incentive.” On the positive side, private and public sector clients were


Photo courtesy of Lamilux


becoming more aware of the potential benefits of Passivhaus, and there was now a good amount of experience and knowledge within the industry, according to respondents.


Alongside an urge to ‘go green’ among


clients, some commenters said that developer clients were “aware of the cost of getting a fully certified Passivhaus scheme.” This could mean they will “only do one or two schemes so they can tick the box” however. In addition, there was a perception that a lack of Building Regulations covering Passivhaus was holding some specifiers back, and that greater publicity, such as more ‘show homes,’ was required.


In terms of what contractors needed to


do, “Willingness to collaborate, learn and do a great job,” aligned with “attention to detail, and a meticulous and regular review of build quality” were clear messages from survey respondents.


Conclusion


The UK may have been relatively slow to embrace Passivhaus, but it is making up ground fast. However, we are some way off the level of ambition of true leaders, for


example the 333,000 m2 Passivhaus city


development in Gaobeidian, China, or Bahnstadt, a district of Heidelberg entirely constructed to Passivhaus standards. These are the kind of quantum leaps which will be needed across the world for us to really use Passivhaus as a major plank towards mitigating climate change. Our survey shows that architects, the wider industry and clients have a long way to go.


To download a full version of the White Paper report on this survey, please visit ADF at www.architectsdatafile.co.uk


SURVEY SPONSORS


We are grateful to our five survey sponsors for their participation in this White Paper report:


Lamilux Schöck Internorm idealcombi Kingspan


adf architectsdatafile.co.uk WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK ADF MAY 2021


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