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Monitoring results of Passivhaus projects revealed

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[UKPHC Part 3] Post occupancy data from the Camden Passivhaus, Wolverhampton Schools, and Y Foel

At the UK Passivhaus Conference last week, data was revealed from a number of high profile Passivhaus projects.

Speakers at the session included Sarah Lewis of bere:architects, Lee Fordham from Architype, Nick Grant of Elemental Solutions and Mark Tiramani.

Camden Passivhaus by bere:architects

Camden Passivhaus by bere:architects

Sarah Lewis began by discussing the monitoring and feedback from bere:architects Camden Passivhaus. The practice received funding for research into the in-use performance of the building from the Technology Strategy Board, which has allowed them to gain comprehensive post occupancy data.

The energy consumption of the building, the efficiency of the MVHR unit, heat and energy demands, and lighting requirements are all being monitored.

Sarah said: ‘If we hadn’t been monitoring the building we wouldn’t have realised what was and wasn’t working’. Monitoring had picked up that the solar hot water heater was not working properly.

They also found disparities between the designed data used in PHPP and the reality. The MVHR unit was designed to be 92 per cent efficient but in use it was only achieving 82 per cent efficiency.

bere:architects have a live feed of the data from the Camden Passivhaus coming into their office, allowing them to see real time data of how the house is being used. This is a unique opportunity to really understand household energy consumption, but it relies on receptive clients who don’t mind a touch of energy use big brother.

At present the data gained from monitoring the Camden Passivhaus shows it to be outperforming the design targets.

Read about Footprint’s previous visit to the house, here.

Architype's Bushbury Hill School interior

Architype’s Bushbury Hill School interior

Architype’s two Wolverhampton Passivhaus schools have now been occupied for a year. Lee Fordham from Architype and Nick Grant of Elemental Solutions shared the Soft Landings process with conference goers.

Oak Meadow and Bushbury Hills were presented at the Passivhaus Conference last year. Catch up with this talk in the video below.

The Soft Landings process has been used at both schools to ease the transition after practical completion.

The projects received no funding to carry out Soft Landings or monitoring which the architects felt had limited what could be done. Architype and the contractor, Thomas Vale funded the process themselves, as they saw the value which it would give to the projects and also to any future schemes.

Both Nick and Lee have visited the school monthly for the first three months after handover, dealing with any defects that might have arisen along the way. They said that this had helped their relationship with the client and the building users.

The Soft Landings process has been about educating the client on how to use the building after handover and making the staff and caretakers aware of the principles of Passivhaus. They produced hand outs guiding staff through the process with accompanying sheets for the school children. Done in a fun and interactive way, this has helped to raise the children’s awareness of energy usage.

Y Foel by Mark Tiramani

Mark Tiramani spoke of his experience in using his Passivhaus, Y Foel, in Wales, which he has been living in for the past four years.

The house has no installed heating system which he claimed this helped to ‘make it easier to understand when supplementary heating is required’.

Mark has been monitoring the house since they moved in using five indoor sensors and one outdoor. He currently measures outdoor and indoor relative humidity, space heating demand, and indoor and outdoor average temperatures.

These projects all showed the value of good monitoring in providing information which can be learnt from for future projects. The success of such monitoring lies in good funding. Clients will often not be willing to fund future monitoring of their projects, as for them it is difficult to see the value which lies in it. It is projects like these and the lessons which will come out of them that prove the worth of post occupancy evaluation. It allows us to learn how these buildings perform from actual real data.

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