The transition to a low carbon built environment presents challenges and opportunities to our industry. New ways of working will need to be adopted and the skills we require as individuals will need to change.
But thanks to a programme of Passivhaus training, we’re futureproofing our expertise with a team of certified designers to deliver high quality low energy buildings.
Project Manager, Lee Wayper was one of a number of colleagues to complete the 5-week training course to become a certified Passivhaus Designer for the business. But what is Passivhaus and why is this standard important for the construction industry?
Passivhaus adopts a whole-building approach with clear, measured targets, focussing on high-quality construction which is then certified through an exacting quality assurance process.
According to The Passivhaus Trust, “Buildings are a significant culprit of carbon emissions and accountable for 35% of total global energy consumption. Backed with over 30 years of international evidence, Passivhaus is a tried & tested solution that gives us a range of proven approaches to deliver net-zero-ready new and existing buildings optimised for a decarbonised grid and augmented for occupant health and wellbeing. Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort using very little energy for heating and cooling.”
The training focused on the Passivhaus standards highlighting the requirements and what that means for us as contractors who lead design teams. We did real time calculations on the course to understand the importance of accurate design modelling using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). This enables us to identify the focus areas required to design and build to Passive House standards. The knowledge gained puts us in a better position to support our design teams and share knowledge with our supply chain partners as part of the planning and delivery team.
Sir Robert McAlpine, Project Manager
To achieve the Passivhaus Standard in the UK typically involves:
- Accurate design modelling using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP)
- High levels of insulation
- Extremely high-performance windows with insulated frames
- Airtight building fabric
- ‘Thermal bridge free' construction
- Mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery
Passivhaus is a perfect example of where a focus on quality delivers sustainable benefits. Our structured quality checking approach from design into installation and through to handover ensures that interfaces are properly designed, managed and installed. This results in the building meeting the desired requirements for air tightness and thermal performance.
Our programme of Passivhaus awareness continues to roll out as we look to grow our in-house capabilities and more recently saw a two-day Passivhaus workshop held at our Newcastle office which was attended by site delivery teams. This was primarily aimed at those involved in construction management to help boost our knowledge in this area and build our own in-house team of experts.