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‘Delivering a low-energy building’ report calls for widespread adoption of Passivhaus

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UEA report finds the UK could have a legacy of buildings neither energy efficient nor good for occupant’s health

UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group has produced a report entitled ‘Delivering a low-energy building’. The report is the result of a four year study into building performance in Sweden, Germany, and the UK.

It highlights the continued problem of the energy performance gap – where buildings consistently do not meet their designed energy predictions when in use. The report suggests that this is down to the use of traditional construction models, leading to defects that can compromise energy performance.

The report states that the ‘energy performance gap means that current and future building codes and standards cannot ensure delivery of buildings that comply with these codes. Requirements such as the UK so-called zero-carbon homes or the European Performance of Buildings Directive are ineffectual without confidence that buildings, either new or refurbished, will perform as designed and as Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) claim.’

According to the report, the quality standards of construction in the UK could leave the country unable to meet climate change targets. Defects post-completion, can lead to poor levels of energy performance, which were not so important in the past, but now, as carbon emissions become critical, high quality finishing is of utmost importance. The report calls for post construction and post occupancy evaluation to become mainstream, in an effort to combat these problems.

The report recommends Passivhaus building techniques, suggesting setting Passivhaus standards would accelerate innovation, skill formation and competiveness.

Bruce Tofield, author of the report said: ‘Building to the Passivhaus quality standard is the route to better homes, lower bills, and better returns. Far-sighted developers now realise that this is more cost-effective because maintenance will cost less, prices will be stronger, and rental streams better protected.’


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Readers' comments (1)

  • The new environmental book, Green Illusions, shows the importance of addressing low-energy buildings as a first step in combating our broader energy and environmental challenges. The author argues that low-energy buildings is a better project to pursue than new energy technologies, which have many negative side effects and limitations.

    This book also details why future environmentalists will reject LEED buildings and straw-bale homes in favor of more durable options.

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