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Highly Energy Efficiency Homes still leaves UK cold

A report, issued by the trade body the National House Builders Confederation (NHBC), highlights a number of major issues which the UK development industry needs to overcome before it is able to start building very low carbon emitting, highly energy efficient homes.

A range of reasons are mentioned by comparing the take up of Passivhaus in the UK with the experience in Germany.

Firstly there are a number of generous grants available to German builders of Passivhaus offering worthwhile incentives to produce highly efficient buildings. Secondly, the German system allows for Passivhaus to be the main compliance measure for building regulation purposes, which is not the case in the UK. Builders of very low carbon building in this country still have to satisfy the myriad of UK Building Regulations, as well as the Passivhaus standard!  In addition, the report recognises the more positive and proactive  attitude the German population has about environmentally friendly products and very high specification buildings.

Neil Smith, An innovations manager at the NHBC and a recently made director of the government think tank the Zero Carbon Hub, recognized the Passivhaus model is in it’s infancy in the UK and stated that ” There are lessons that we can learn in the UK from the attention to detail inherent in the Passivhaus approach in the run up to the governement’s 2016 zero carbon homes target. But it is questionable whether Passivhaus is a realistic solution for the volume market at present.”

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