As of January 2012 the Racecourse Passivhaus Estate in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, was the largest residential PassivHaus scheme in the UK. Project Architect and Certified Passivhaus Designer Mark developed the project with the RSL Gentoo. The scheme consists of 28 bungalows, 25 of which are Certified Passivhaus homes.
It has been estimated that energy demand and carbon emissions of the Passivhaus homes will be over 80% less than that of the national average building stock.
The design achieves a 75% reduction in space heating compared to Building Regulations and gains a rating of Level 4 under the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) without the need for bolt-on technologies. With the addition of solar thermal panels (for hot water) and photovoltaic panels (for electricity) CSH Level 5 is achieved.
The estimated average fuel bill for each Passivhaus home is just £64 per year. This may be compared to the data from the Energy Savings Trust which suggests that the average energy bill for space heating and hot water is between £588 and £882 per year. On this basis the homes achieve a cost saving of £520 to £814 per annum.
As of 2012 independent co-heating tests, undertaken by Leeds Metropolitan University, have successfully demonstrated that the thermal performance of the Passivhaus homes is such that they have closed the performance gap (all of the other buildings that they have examined over 20 years of research have failed to achieve this goal).
In early 2013 a Building Use Studies survey was conducted and revealed that residents are delighted with their new Passivhaus homes. With very high levels of comfort and low energy bills who wouldn’t be? Most surprising was the finding that some people are reporting reduced incidence of asthma and arthritis. Rightly or wrongly the residents believe that this is associated with their new home.
Anonymised quotes from tenants:
“The bungalow has helped enormously health-wise. The clean constant air has helped with my breathing, as I suffer with heart problems and asthma. Also getting about the bungalow is a great help to my mobility, back problems, knee and hip problems.”
“I do not have to worry about my husband’s mobility and care needs. He loves this house.”
“Felt like we were on holiday in Spain”
“Breathing in fresh air – feeling more awake.”
“Can’t comment on heating as we have never had heating on since we moved in.”
“Air seems better, more comfortable.”
By helping to design and implement this project, and also by keeping a close eye on quality assurance, Mark has established himself as one of the UK’s leading low energy architects.
Regional Constructing Excellence Award 2012: Innovation
Regional LABC Building Excellence Award 2012: Best Large Housing Development
Regional LABC Building Excellence Award 2012: Innovation
Sunderland LABC Building Excellence Award 2012: Best Large Housing Development
Passivhaus Trust Awards 2013, Large Housing Project of the Year
Sustainable Housing Awards 2011, Large Housing Project of the Year, 2011