Passivhaus Conference 2014 Report

passivhaus_conference_2014

It was great to see so many people at the Passivhaus Conference last week and we were delighted to talk to so many of you on our stand.

There were some fascinating themes that were coming up in discussions throughout the day. In this post we’ve collated some thoughts on what we have learned from the day. Unfortunately we didn’t get round all the discussions as there was much going on so these are just some of the highlights from some of the discussions!

One of the best parts of the conference was hearing so many people sharing their experiences of designing, building and living in Passivhaus buildings and what was involved in getting these right. This seemed to crystallise around the points of comfort and control – ensuring that residents of the buildings are living in a comfortable, well insulated property which they could then control.

A theme that we found coming up through the day was the occupier’s experience of living within a Passivhaus, and the unexpected benefits that this brought and the anticipated problems which didn’t arise.

Key comments in this area came from Exeter Council who have committed to a portfolio of Passivhaus buildings. They have developed low energy social housing, built to the Passivhaus standard and as well as the help this has given the occupants in reducing fuel bills and creating healthy homes an unexpected bonus has been the big drop in complaints of noise nuisance. This has all been achieved to the same cost of conventional build, showing that Passivhaus  is achievable on a normal budget. The reputation of Passivhaus as a respectable, low energy standard was also a good selling point to residents.

There was also some good comments about occupier’s experiences from @Lancastercoho including residents thinking that the MVHR was broken because they couldn’t hear them.  The humidity levels and good air quality in the building were also commented on. Evidently the clothes dry naturally overnight, although care has to be taken with old furniture and musical instruments which may be used to a higher level of humidity.

There was also discussion of the new Passivhaus standards being introduced by the PHI (Passivhaus Institute) which incorporate renewable technologies and how the Passivhaus Standard should be seen as a means of achieving zero carbon for 2016, rather than lobbing government to change the standards to be Passivhaus. Reference was made to ‘old battles like SAP v PHPP’ but the suggestion was to focus on solutions to issues like the performance gap rather than arguing about these.

We certainly learnt a lot from the conference and are already looking forward to next year!

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