UK building policy is inhibiting uptake of the Passivhaus standard, according to a new report on the lessons from Germany by the NHBC Foundation.
Worldwide 37,000 houses have been built to the German standard of which only 165 are in the UK. The report says a Passivhaus will have a typical space heating requirement only half of that of a home built to UK building regulation standards.
It finds three areas which have made the standard popular in Germany:
Social: The German population has a strong interest in the environment and an associated inclination to take action….
Political: In addition to national regulations for the energy performance of buildings, many individual cities have chosen to set their own energy and environmental standards which mandate an even higher performance….
Financial: The cost of building a Passivhaus home in Germany is now estimated at 3 to 8% more than building a home to the building regulations (known in Germany as EnEV), and there is a variety of assistance available for financing this cost. Government and local loans are available at significantly discounted interest rates, and grants are available depending on the level of energy efficiency achieved.
The NHBC Foundation refers to suggestion that Passivehaus certification should be “deemed to satisfy” the energy component of UK building regs.
A story at Inside Housing, headed “UK unwilling to embrace high efficiency homes“, quotes Neill Smith, of the NHBC, saying:
There are lessons that we in the UK can learn from the attention to detail inherent in the Passivhaus approach in the run up to the government’s 2016 zero carbon homes target. But it is questionable whether Passivhaus is a realistic solution for the volume market at present.
The failure of the Green Deal, launched by the British government this week, to offer discounted interest rates has been one of the main criticisms. We really do need to learn from Germany.