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Gale and Snowden complete UK's 'first' Passivhaus council flats

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Gale and Snowden Architects have completed the UK’s first social housing apartments built to Passivhaus standards in Exeter

The £450,000 Rowan House development for Exeter City Council Exeter received £195,000 worth of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Rowan House contains three flats and is situated within a conservation area surrounded by listed buildings, including a Grade II-listed building to the west and a recently converted listed building to the east.

Designed to be fully accessible in compliance with lifetime homes requirements, the apartments will accommodate people over 55 years old with priority given to those downsizing from larger council homes in the area.

The development combines high levels of air tightness and insulation with MVHR to achieve the Passivhaus standard.

Achieving Code for Sustainable Homes level four, the flats also feature permaculture gardens and solar panels which provide hot water.

The homes will use 90 per cent less energy than those built to today’s building regulations.

Steve Chapman, senior building control officer at Exeter City Council said: ‘This development has incorporated sustainable technologies into an innovative design which has assisted Exeter City Council in meeting its housing needs by providing the local residents with high quality affordable housing whilst reducing the impact on the environment for the life of the building’.

A further eighteen Passivhaus homes are planned by the local authority.

The homes were shortlisted for best social housing development, best technical development, and best sustainable development in the LABC South West Building Excellence Awards.


Gokay Deveci’s Passivhaus social housing scheme was completed in April 2010, and also achieved Passivhaus certification. View this project on the AJBL

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I hope this is the north elevation. Those windows do not seem large enough to light a habitable room.

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