Performance monitoring data for UK’s first cavity wall Passivhaus

Dated: 08/11/2012

Denby dale passivhaus - green building storeLeeds Metropolitan University’s Centre for the Built Environment has just completed a two year monitoring project on the pioneering Denby Dale Passivhaus (www.denbydalepassivhaus.co.uk), which has found that the cavity wall Passivhaus has performed well and within expected Passivhaus parameters. The research findings will be shared at the UK Passivhaus conference today (Thursday 8th November, 2012) by Ruth Sutton from Leeds Metropolitan University and Chris Herring from Green Building Store. The study also shares findings revealed during the two year performance monitoring, relating to occupant handover procedures, heating design and specification in ultra low energy projects.

Denby dale passivhaus interior - green building storeThe Leeds Met researchers measured temperature (external & internal), CO2 & humidity levels within the home as well as incorporating energy consumption measurements supplied by the occupants. The research concluded that space heating could be estimated to be in the range 9 – 20.7 kWh/m2/year, so in line with Passivhaus certification criteria of 15 kWh/m2/year, while total primary energy requirement was also within the certification criteria. The monitoring also showed that, once teething problems had been dealt with, the house has also performed well in terms of comfort and internal environment.

The study also revealed some lessons and recommendations, of interest for other Passivhaus and low energy projects. The research highlighted the need for good quality handover information for Passivhaus occupants: the householders spent quite a lot of time in the first year learning to ‘drive the house’, fine-tuning their use of the building and working out correct settings for MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems. In addition, the research has highlighted the importance of careful design and specification of heating systems at an early stage in Passivhaus design: an over-capacity heating system installed at the Denby Dale Passivhaus caused some problems in the first year of occupancy (including overheating, ‘cycling’ and inefficient boiler functioning), which was remedied in the second year of occupancy, through better boiler controls.

Research conclusions:

  • The Denby Dale Passivhaus is performing well and energy consumption is close to that predicted in PHPP (Passive House Planning Package).
  • Occupants need a reasonable level of understanding of their building to optimise comfort & performance. Formal handovers with clear instructions (especially for MVHR) are essential.
  • There is a need for careful specification and design of heating (& ventilation) systems for Passivhaus dwellings at early stage for optimal performance

Geoff & Kate Tunstall, owners of the Denby Dale Passivhaus, have commented:
“We are very happy with our home and wouldn’t want to ever live in a non-Passivhaus now. You can sum Passivhaus up in three words: cost-effective, comfortable and sustainable. There isn’t anything about the house that we’d change. The whole thing has been a victory for common sense.”   

For more information and a free 8 page summary of the research data and recommendations go to: www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk/page–denby-dale-passivhaus-monitoring-report.html

Notes for the editor

Passivhaus

Developed in Germany in the 1990s, Passivhaus is a quality assured standard and methodology for low energy building, which can help create buildings which use around 90% less energy than standard UK buildings. Passivhaus design is based on the principle that reducing heating loss to the minimum is the most cost-effective way of creating a low carbon building. Passivhaus is the leading international low energy, design standard, with over 37,000 units of houses, schools, offices and other buildings designed, built and tested to the standard across the world.

Green Building Store

Green Building Store has been at the forefront of introducing Passivhaus products and design into the UK. Its construction division Green Building Company built the pioneering Denby Dale Passivhaus, the UK’s first Passivhaus built using traditional British cavity wall construction.

Tel: 01484 461705, www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk 

Leeds Metropolitan University, Centre for the Built Environment

www.leedsmet.ac.uk/as/cebe/  

Also available

Images

High-res images of the Denby Dale Passivhaus are available from chayley@greenbuildingstore.co.uk

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