What We Learnt at the 2016 UK Passivhaus Conference

UK Passivhaus Conference 2016

 Adam and Emma attended this year’s UK Passivhaus Conference and came back fired up with up-to-the-minute thinking on the energy efficiency standard.

It was an opportunity to look back at the rapid growth of Passivhaus in the UK.


How to Upscale Passivhaus
The Conference’s focus was on how to upscale the Passivhaus model.

Ralf Bermich (City of Heidelberg) is proving Passivhaus can apply to any building type including hotels, offices, shopping centres, supermarkets, labs, fire stations and cinemas. This scale, although feasible, requires effective management of quality. It is this quality management that is vital in ensuring that the energy and comfort targets are reached throughout the building’s lifetime.

Emma Osmundsen (Exeter City Council) is leading some exciting projects including Exeter’s Social Housing projects, Extra Care facilities, Leisure Centre (St Sidwell’s Place) and the bus/coach station. Her tips in achieving this are:


The Passivhaus Institute have been developing a methodology for Step-by-Step Retrofit. In a Mini-Masterclass, Bob Prewett (Prewet-Bizley Architects) and Jessica Grove-Smith (PHI) took us through retrofit on a small to big scale and highlighted how the new PHPP version 9.6 additional functions could help with reaching the EnerPHit Standard.

The three key reasons for introducing these functions was to make retrofits affordable, planned (not piecemeal) and to ensure future energy use match predictions.

The process begins by creating a considered and reasonable PHPP evaluation to reach the EnerPHit standard. This gives a holistic overview of how your build will reach its end target, understanding what effect each measure will have and planning how each element will fit together. Deep energy retrofits can be complicated and expensive so it makes perfect sense from a cost perspective to schedule these modifications to suit other planned maintenance and budget.


PHPP version 9.6 comes with a Scheduler function (tab) which encourages you to think about the phasing of your retrofit and aligns elements that should best upgraded together or separately. The Variant function (tab) allows you to have as many retrofit iterations of your PHPP model as necessary. These can be organised over any timeframe and phased to suit the budget. The result of this is the output of a StepWise Report which details a phased, coordinated plan, that benefits from the evidence-based certainty of performance that the Passivhaus calculation ensures.

Air Tightness is also a massive consideration in retrofit and particularly relevant when setting your retrofit end target energy standard i.e. AECB Silver Standard, PHI Low Energy Building Standard or EnerPHit.  Paul Jennings and Liam Scofield hosted a Mini-Masterclass on the subject. Based on their extensive hands-on experience they assert that it is possible to achieve between a 75-90% improvement on airtightness on a retrofit project.

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