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Why you need to live in an architect designed Passivhaus – Part 1: Costs

When you’re designing a home for your family, it’s important to think about what you need out of your space. But, it’s just as important to think about the other fundamental elements you’ll need to create a comfortable and healthy family home.

At HEM Architects, when we talk about designing sustainable homes, we’re talking about buildings which are cost effective, comfortable and healthy to live in. And we’ve found the best way we can achieve this is by adopting a fabric first approach to the building’s construction using the Passivhaus methodology.

Continue reading to learn more about the cost benefits of adopting a fabric first approach.

Low energy living = low cost living:

A Passivhaus requires very, very little heating to keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year round. This is perhaps 10% of what a new-build house should be achieving and probably 5% of what most new-build houses actually achieve.

But even if you’re not aiming to build a Passivhaus, using the methodology helps us to understand the cost vs. performance gains of different designs and specifications. This means your home will perform optimally even if you have a tight budget or your site’s constraints aren’t favourable.

Imagine enjoying a warm, comfortable home yet with annual energy bills in the low £hundreds.

And then imagine what else you could spend your money on.

Longevity built in:

By avoiding high-tech solutions, such as solar panels, there’s less to go wrong and to maintain.

So apart from an MVHR service at the same intervals as your boiler, your home quietly gets on in the background with keeping you comfortable so you can get on with life without worry.

With a fabric-first approach, a Passivhaus Architect will create a sustainable building using low-tech solutions such as:

  • Optimising the size, position & orientation of windows
  • Fitting high levels of insulation
  • Installing high performance windows
  • Minimising draughts and improving airtightness

Thinking about your own Passivhaus project?

Learn more about our approach to creating a comfortable and healthy home.

Protection against energy price rises:

As recent events have shown, there’s only one-way energy prices are going to go in the long term.

Reducing your demand limits your exposure to future price rises. It also means that low carbon heat sources like heat pumps become much more effective. You could adopt these now or be safe in the knowledge your house is suitable for a future upgrade.

Does it cost more to build an architect designed Passivhaus?

In short, no.

But only if you work with an experienced, Passivhaus architect who uses the methodology from the very beginning of your self-build project.

It’s only by considering your new home’s

  • Orientation
  • Size
  • The complexity of the architectural design [or its “Form-factor”]
  • The position of glazing

from the outset that you can be confident you’ll get the performance you’re aiming for at a price-point you can achieve.

And this should always be backed up by modelling your design in specialist Passivhaus software to check your meeting the standard at all stages of the project.

Be wary of working with an architect who isn’t specific about how they’ll achieve the Passivhaus standard. Whilst any building can be made into a Passivhaus, this will be at a significant cost if the standard isn’t considered from early on.

You will likely pay more for to work with an experienced Passivhaus architect upfront, but it will definitely save you considerable money in the long run.

Want to know more about the Passivhaus way of working?

Discover the benefits of using the Passivhaus overlay with the RIBA plan of work to create a comfortable and energy efficient home.

Do you need to get your home Passivhaus certified to gain these benefits?

As well as being a performance & comfort standard, Passivhaus certification can also be seen as a quality assurance standard.

Only buildings constructed to the highest tolerances, with the evidence to back this up, will achieve certification. This means, that if you do achieve the standard, you can be certain your build has been completed to a high quality.

However, in our experience, you can gain many of the benefits of living in a Passivhaus if you apply the rigour of the methodology on your self-build, even if you don’t achieve full certification.

We’ve worked with numerous clients, using the Passivhaus methodology, who’ve been amazing by the warmth, comfort and minimal running costs of their new or refurbished home, even if we’ve not quite met the rigorous Passivhaus requirements.

Passivhaus Architects in Yorkshire

Are you looking for an architectural company that can help you create a sustainable, energy efficient home? Our team of architects and designers at HEM Architects specialise in Passivhaus in Yorkshire.

We can ensure that your home is energy efficient, comfortable and has a low environmental impact. Our team of architects in Sheffield will work with you every step of the way to create a home that not only meets your unique needs and preferences but also exceeds energy efficiency standards.

To enquire about our Passivhaus building design, please contact us today. You can reach us by phone on +44 (0) 114 4420 123 to speak with a member of our team.