Monday, 29 May 2017

UK unwilling to embrace high efficiency homes

Major issues need to be overcome if the Passivhaus energy efficiency standard is going to become widely used in the UK, a trade body has warned.

The National House Building Council Foundation has produced a report outlining the changes that will be needed if the ultra-insulated approach is to have the same success here as in its native Germany.

Around 165 Passivhaus buildings have been built in the UK so far, and this is expected to rise to 500 by the end of the year. However worldwide there have been around 37,000 Passivhaus buildings completed.

The report notes that in Germany a range of reduced interested rate loan schemes and grants are available for Passivhaus buildings, and developments only have to meet the Passivhaus standard rather than additional building regulations as they do in the UK. It also says the German population is more enthusiastic about environmentally friendly products and high-specification homes.

Neil Smith, group research and innovation manager at NHBC, said: ‘Passivhaus is still in its infancy in the UK, but it is clear that there are major issues that need to be overcome if the Passivhaus standard is to take off in the UK.

‘The popularity of Passivhaus in Germany has been largely due to a combination of social, political and financial circumstances that are specific to that nation.

‘There are lessons that we in the UK can learn from the attention to detail inherent in the Passivhaus approach in the run up to the government’s 2016 zero carbon homes target. But it is questionable whether Passivhaus is a realistic solution for the volume market at present.’

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