Office romance - Passive house supplier walks the walk with new office & factory

When Welsh sustainable building specialists PYC decided to start making their own timber frames, they got down to work designing and building their own factory. Once that was finished, it was time to test their system on their first order: to build their own passive house certified offices right next door – and to be bold enough to decide not to install central heating.

Doctor's orders - The complex relationship between energy retrofits and human health

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence that home energy retrofits, done well, can improve the health of those who receive them — and equally there are horror stories about shoddy upgrades causing damp, mould and illness. But what does the evidence say about how energy upgrades effect occupant health, and what lessons can be learned for the future of how we renovate our homes? Kate de Selincourt reports.

Flat pack hijack

Flat-pack furniture has become a fixture of modern living, but what happens when the same concept is applied to housing – and when the client is an architect seeking to build to passive house and nearly zero energy building levels?

Stirling Work - The passive social housing scheme that won British architecture’s top award

Early in October, Norwich City Council’s Goldsmith Street development become both the first passive house and the first social housing project to win the Stirling Prize, British architecture’s most coveted award, with the judges calling it “high-quality architecture in its purest, most environmentally and socially conscious form”. Leading building energy expert Dr Peter Rickaby visited the scheme for Passive House Plus to see this ground-breaking project for himself.

Mies en Scéne - Iconic Dublin offices get deep green treatment

The deep and comprehensive refurbishment of the Miesian Plaza complex on Dublin’s Baggot Street provides a radical blueprint for how to transform mid-20th century city office buildings into comfortable, healthy and super low energy spaces that support sustainable transport and working patterns.

Developing story - Life inside Ireland's largest low energy housing scheme

Over the last decade, Cosgrave Developments have set about building a new neighbourhood near the south Dublin seaside town of Dún Laoghaire. Honey Park and Cualanor are two adjacent schemes comprising nearly 2,000 low energy homes, one of which houses this magazine’s editor, who has found a scheme with green credentials that go far beyond a good energy rating.

Steeply sustainable - Low carbon passive design wonder on impossible Cork site

The unique split-level, wedge-shaped plan of this striking and award-winning new passive house in Cork isn’t just for show — it is a carefully thought-out response to an extremely challenging site, and an example of how great architecture can create beautiful, sustainable buildings in even the most unlikely of spaces, and with a fraction of the upfront carbon costs of traditional build methods.

Big time - UK's largest passive scheme comes to Camden

The first phase of the hugely ambitious Agar Grove redevelopment in Camden was finished in April 2018. Not only is it the largest passive house scheme in the UK to date, it also aims to be a model for sustainable urban regeneration and for creating liveable spaces at the heart of our cities.

International: Issue 30

This issue features two new buildings built to the passive house standard - an elementary school in Austria and a gorgeously simple house in the Ore Mountains of the Czech Republic.

Site specific - Somerset passive house adapts to tight plot

The best architecture responds skilfully and sensitively to its surroundings, so when a long and narrow plot beside a busy road became available in the Somerset village of Chew Magna, architect David Hayhow set out to design a passive house, inspired by nearby farm buildings, that would be both private yet filled with light — quite the challenge given the site’s tight restraints.

Legendary engineer builds engine-less home

With this stunning, award-winning passive house in Camden, the legendary engineer Max Fordham — together with bere:architects & Bow Tie Construction — has produced a simple and beautiful urban home with no wet heating system that draws on his lifetime of work applying the principles of simplicity, practicality and replicability to the design of building services.

Cork retrofit blitzes new build NZEB standard

The retrofit and extension of a run-down semi in Cork shows just how radically a typical Irish home can be transformed with a skilful retrofit — and why, if your budget is limited, upgrading the building fabric should be your first priority.

Tanzanian children's eco village aims to inspire low carbon example

In 2016, three British sustainable building experts were asked to design a new school, housing and other facilities for an eco village in Tanzania that caters to the country’s orphans. They aimed to take the principles of passive house design and apply them in a low-cost, lowtech manner to demonstrate that sustainable, comfortable and affordable buildings could be accessible to the people of rural Tanzania.

This is the story of the project so far.

Cheshire semi gets passive retrofit for £60k

Vet Chris Copeman was so meticulous about the deep retrofit of his home near the village of Frodsham that he decided to train as a passive house consultant and project manage the build himself. The result? A certified passive house created on a surprisingly low budget.

Field of dreams

Designed in a traditional farmhouse cluster on a greenfield site amid the hedgerows of rural Cork, this new passive home by the River Sullane pays deep attention not only to energy efficiency but also to natural light, elegant design and preserving the ecology of its sensitive setting.

Social skills - The A1 rapid build council homes that are sustainability all-rounders

In the midst of a national housing crisis, this new development in Dún Laoghaire sets a hopeful and inspiring example: high quality, high density, rapid build social housing that needs almost no energy to heat and is within walking distance of shops, services and the seafront. No wonder it was one of the first projects to be certified to a rigorous new sustainability standard.

Woodland wonder

Hiding in woodland in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Fishleys passive house manages to be both strikingly contemporary yet deeply sensitive to its rural setting. It also boasts a masterfully crafted timber frame structure with one of the best airtightness results this magazine has ever published.

International - Issue 29

This issue features a certified passive house in South Island, New Zealand, and the Bagley Outdoor Classroom at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

The PH+ guide to heat recovery ventilation

Heat recovery ventilation is an invaluable way to maintain indoor air quality in low energy buildings and minimise the loss of precious heat, but there are several issues to address to ensure optimal performance. Ventilation expert Ian Mawditt, a technical advisor on Part F of England’s building regulations, has decades of experience in field investigations of indoor air quality and ventilation effectiveness. His guide, which focuses on centralised or ducted whole house heat recovery systems, is essential reading to anyone considering such a system.

The PH+ guide to insulating foundations

While understanding wall and roof insulation is relatively straightforward, insulation under the ground floor can be a bit of a mystery by comparison. Not only is it buried in the ground, but there are notoriously tricky spots like the wall-floor junction that need to be detailed and insulated properly. And the design of your foundation often depends on site conditions and the type of structure you’re going to build, too. In this guide, we explain some different ways of insulating one of the most challenging parts of the building envelope.