There is an assumption that building to Passivhaus standards leads to an uplift in capital costs. Our research shows otherwise. In the case of net-zero buildings, the emphasis is on reducing energy demand as far as possible so that a higher proportion can be met through onsite renewable energy generation on site (e.g. photovoltaics) and on the fact that the nation’s energy demands will increasingly be met by renewables, such as wind farms. The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has already set energy demand targets for offices and will be setting targets for other building types. The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) guidance has set a 55kWh/m2/year figure for buildings – a seriously challenging target. Passivhaus, however, sets maximum performance criteria for space heating and cooling demand, air permeability, overheating and primary energy demand. The Passivhaus heat demand target of <15kWh/m2/year is less than a fifth of a typical non-domestic building’s demand, which radically reduces the overall energy use and associated carbon emissions compared to the conventional design approach.
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