10 years on: Living in the Denby Dale Passivhaus

Denby Dale Passivhaus 2020


It still works!!

What has changed is my perception.

That first morning in May 2010, we woke up with sunlight coming through the wooden blinds, suffusing the house with a warm glow. It was a wow moment! And that feeling lasted for a long time. Not only did the house achieve in terms of energy efficiency, we lived and understood the health benefits of having filtered air and the insulation providing a quiet and tranquil space.

Now, I don’t think about it, I take it for granted that it feels comfortable and serene.

The other change has been that Geoff passed away in May 2018. Leaving aside the emotional loss, it has meant me taking up the technical baton – not my forte!

I can now be seen prowling the house, temperature gun in hand. Geoff would be proud!

Not that there is a lot to do – changing the filters twice a year and controlling the temperature. The gas bill went up in 2018, but that was because I didn’t keep a check on it as Geoff had done. I have since been experimenting with boiler settings and last winter there were times when the temperature dropped below the 20 degree average.

The average annual gas usage (heating, hot water and cooking) is 3300kWh (based on figures from 2014-2019, but not including 2018). Last year’s gas costs (for heating, hot water and cooking) were £200.

I still feel privileged to live in such an efficient house. There is now a greater understanding of Passivhaus principles by people who have made it their business to find out. Initially, when we had open days, there had to be much more explanation about what passivhaus meant. At recent open days, most people come already familiar with the concept.

However there is still a block in the knowledge of the wider public, and a lack of acknowledgement at government level.

It is a source of frustration that Passivhaus is not standard construction, especially for social housing. We will just have to keep on plugging it!


Kate Tunstall, June 2020

Spreadsheet with gas consumption and costs 2010 to 2020

3rd June 2020

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