Heating is a key element of occupant comfort. So why does the Passivhaus Standard have a limiting benchmark for heating energy of 15kWh/m2 per annum? Isn’t this contradictory?
While this may seem contradictory, there are good reasons for it. Firstly, heating makes up a significant proportion of energy consumption in buildings, so it needs to be addressed to improve energy efficiency and reduce climate change impact. Secondly, setting a very low heating energy benchmark drives a fabric first approach, which has several benefits, comfort being a key one. And thirdly, having a heating energy benchmark singled out from primary energy means it can’t be achieved by offsetting with renewables or any other energy accounting cheats.
15kWh/m2 for comfort – delivered with radical energy efficiency, fabric first design and no cheating!
Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face today. Clearly we need to reduce CO2 emissions globally to zero, or to less than zero, to address climate change. And architecture in the anthropocene must change to address this challenge, as I have written about in my manifesto. Buildings must emit radically less CO2 during construction and occupation. This often leads to the assumption that we should be delivering ‘Zero-Carbon Buildings’. However, this is the wrong target for buildings, radical energy efficiency is the right target for buildings.
In this blog post I explore 9 reasons why ‘Zero-Carbon Buildings’ is the wrong target and what the right targets are.
Is passivhaus a niche pursuit for ‘energy geeks’ and ‘treehuggers’? It may have started that way but it is rapidly gaining momentum in the UK and becoming highly relevant to the mainstream construction industry.
My friend Darren Lester, the founder of SpecifiedBy, invited me to write a guest blog for his site. (If you haven’t discovered it yet, SpecifiedBy is an incredibly useful resource, the online Building Regulations section have been a life saver for me!) The readers of his blog are from a broad spectrum of the UK construction industry, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss three reasons why passivhaus is highly relevant to the mainstream UK construction industry.