Passivhaus standards are the Holy Grail of low energy construction. They are built to very high levels of airtightness to keep warm air in and to avoid draughts. They use Mechanical Heat Recovery Systems (MVHR) to recycle heat in a building, and to provide filtered, warmed, super-fresh air to keep occupants healthy.
What they are not is chilly, expensive to heat, draughty, stuffy, uncomfortable, condensation laden buildings that our construction industry keeps churning out! Unfortunately retrofitting double glazed windows into conventional homes oftens leads to condensation which draught- inducing trickle vents do little to alleviate.
They are also not buildings with windows that can't be opened!
But they are homes that are so well insulated that they require very little heating, which has very positive implications for our planet as well as our pockets
At Glebe Meadow we know that the upfront costs of building to a Passivhaus standard will be higher than a conventional build, and adding extras such as solar panels on the buildings to generate energy for residents use, will mean that the cost of a home might be slightly higher than other 80-90sqm 2 bedroom bungalows in Westleton. But we recognise that the heating and energy running costs for these properties is going to be a lot lower than burning fossil fuels for heating and relying on mains electricity for energy, so this is an investment we hope our residents will be willing to make.
In 2019 the number of certified Passivhaus homes is just 81, although there are many more that have achieved the standard but have not applied for the assessment and certification. We aim to build to Passivhaus standard but not take the homes through the expensive assessment and certification process.
Regarding the Vicarage which will become the Social Hub, it will be retro fitted with maximum insulation, draughty windows and doors either upgraded or replaced, and a new energy efficient heating system will be installed to ensure it maintains a welcoming, comfortable constant temperature throughout.
1) An airtight building promotes a contant temperature inside
2) High insulation levels prevent heat loss
3) High performance windows and doors prevent air and heat escape
4) Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery warms fresh air from the residual heat of stale air, which is then expelled
5) Minimal cold spots from thermal bridging.
This is where any small areas that are less well insulated (ie cold) meet areas that have higher insulation values. Condensation can arise in these areas unless the proerty is well ventilated.
Glebe Meadow is a Community Interest Company established to buy the former Vicarage in the heart of Westleton and convert it into the social hub for a new development of 20 modern, age appropriate homes for locals aged at least 65.