Passive House in the UK

Passive House int he UK still seems to be an ethusiasts game, or possibly at best occassionally being tested by forward thinking councils, all reports seem positive but still we don’t seem to have put a serious dent into the the real problem. Looking quickly at the Passivhaus data base, and the Passive house trust website it seems that we only have completed & certified project numbered in the low hundreds. I’m personally a bit disappointed its taken me until last year to complete my first certified project, amazingly the first in Sheffield and South Yorkshire to be listed in the above databases. OK there are probably hundreds more to passive house principles, but this is such a sliding scale – from probably certifiable projects through to pure hype.

I’m fairly confident the certified projects done to date have been completed by dedicated teams with a degree of interest, ethusiam and attachment to them. The trouble moving forward and massively increasing through put is that these projects need to be completed by teams motvated by the usual means, money. There is a degree of self sign off i.e trust in the current passivhaus certification which will be abused in a normal commercial enviroment. This I believe will require an additional 3rd party verification for site inspections, a role which could logically be taken on by building control inspectors with minimal additional traning. The passivhaus/building control issue is a subject on its own, but basically I’d like to see 3 levels in UK building regulations, basic, standard and high with the high standard being equivalent to passivhaus. Although it feels like early days to me I feel we are to late to test intermediate/transitional approaches and therefore I would push for passivhaus certification to be carried out by building control bodies. Although relatively a small cost the duplication of fees and effort for Statutory and Passivhaus compliance relating to Part L & F of building regulations, it isn’t exactly encouraging PH adoption. It would be nice if there was some appreciation of the effort being made to achieve Passivhaus certification like incorporating Passivhaus standards into UK building regulations. It should be standard but at least in could be a building regs gold standard.