calfordseaden Seminar Q&A: Passive House

02.11.2020

We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions from our seminars. Check out this months Q&A for our recent ‘Passive House – The Basic Principles’ seminar. You can watch the recordings of all our CPD Seminars on our YouTube page.

Q: Is Passive House going to be a requirement in the future?

A: While there are no current plans to make Passive House mandatory, the Future Homes Standard consultation indicates a drive towards low-carbon heating and improved fabric standards, equivalent to the Fabric Energy Efficiency standard recommended by the Zero Carbon Hub.

The changes to the building regulations is encouraging the use of electrical energy for space heating and hot water. The proposed fuel tariffs within the SAP 10.1 methodology indicates the cost for electricity can be almost five times more than the cost for main gas.

Reducing the space heating demand through an enhanced building fabric specification will improve the EPC rating and affordability of new homes. Applying the Passive House standard will help achieve this through both design and construction.

Furthermore, local authority’s aspirations for achieving zero carbon would be difficult to achieve without applying the fabric first measures to their fullest.

Q: What is the main selling point of Passive House and what is the measure of performance?

A: One thing we are seeing from local authorities is the climate emergency debate, resulting in a high level of residents asking how they will respond to that. One way can be to bolt on renewable technology – but these will always require maintenance, replacement and understanding from the tenants of the technology and how to use it. Instead of this, we can make these changes within the fabric from the very start, reducing the long term burden of landlords and will ultimately reduce costs for residents and bring EPC ratings up to B and A.

Q: Can you achieve Passive House on existing buildings?

A: Yes, under the Passive House EnerPHit Standard, which has slightly lower requirements. You will undertake the same sort of assessment, but it will take into consideration that you have existing materials and structure so will be looking at what needs to be done to improve the building to bring it up to Passive House standards. This will include additional insulation and improving thermal fabric in terms of air pressure testing, but it is not as high a standard required as for new builds.

Q: How does Passive House compare to other sustainable building techniques?

A: The major factor that makes Passive House stand out from methods (such as offsite construction to low energy and other MMC environments) is the drive to make the envelope of the building work as hard as it can to achieve lower energy in the house, without adding on renewable energies.

To find out more about Passive House, please get in touch with our Sustainability team.