Tuesday, 6 November 2012

First affordable multi-residential buildings in UK to receive ‘Passive House Certification’

18 flats at Knights Place, designed by Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd., have officially received 'Passive House Certification' by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.  The affordable housing scheme in Exeter consists of two, three-storey blocks of flats and was completed in 2011.  Knights Place together with Rowan House, which also received Passive House Certification earlier this year, are the first affordable multi-residential buildings to achieve Passive House Certification in the UK.

These developments provide quality, affordable accommodation that is both comfortable and healthy to live in.  The low energy standard allows for low running costs for the tenants which aids in defeating fuel poverty.

The Client, Structural and Civil Engineers were Exeter City Council and the Architects, Passivhaus Certified Designers, Building Services Engineers and Landscape Architects were Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.

These developments are currently being extensively monitored for two years through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Building Evaluation Programme (BPE), the results of which will be regularly uploaded to our blog and published.

Good Practice Sustainable National Guide features Gale & Snowden Architects' building on the front cover.

The Town and Country 'Good Practice Guidance: Sustainable Design and Construction' leaflet produced by the TCPA dated August 2012 has featured Gale & Snowden Architects' designs for Upton in Nottingham.

'Upon, an examplar development with houses built to high levels of sustainability.  The buildings pictured were designed by Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd., who also acted as ecological design consultants for the site'.

The guide is intended to offer good practice guidance at a national level to Clients and the Construction Industry on Sustainable Design and Construction.  

The Upton project was a development Gale & Snowden designed several years ago, however due to not being involved in the detailed design or the on-site works, we do not know how sustainable the buildings were actually built or what performance standards have been met.

There is a growing awareness that many developments that are designed to meet low energy and/or ecological standards often do not meet the standards due to commercial pressures and a lack of joined up thinking during the construction process - see 'Delivering a low-energy building: Making quality commonplace' October 2012 by Bruce Totfield.

Gale & Snowden advocate the Passivhaus Standard for low energy buildings because it provides a design methodology that requires a quality team approach to construction.