Over the last couple of podcast episodes I have tried to look at the Passivhaus standard from a couple of different points of view.
I interviewed Dr Wolfgang Feist, Director of the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, who has carried out years of research on energy efficiency and is certainly a world-leading voice on the topic. Even as a newcomer I can’t help but embrace his message (as I understand it): we have squandered energy reserves like there is no tomorrow… and now, tomorrow is just about here. The methodology behind this approach may involve minor adjustments to how we live in our houses, but it’s nothing compared to the flip side of the coin. His tenacity and vision, in the face of a world that’s stuck in its ways, is highly commendable.
I also spoke to Pat Wilkinson, from the very successful Touchwood Homes, to discover why he started building this way and the challenges it presents. Having spent a lifetime delivering quality houses, Pat is critical of many of the tradesmen in England and he left me with an interesting thought: “You go to Germany and you aspire to be in the construction industry. In this country there’s no such aspiration, you end up in the building industry because you can’t do anything else.”
In the latest session, I speak to Adam Dadeby from Passivhaus Homes. He has recently retrofitted his own house to the Passivhaus standard, adding his property to only two other retrofits in the UK that have achieved this certification. He tells me about some of the difficulties he faced and why, with the knowledge he has now, he would have chosen to build new rather than refurbish. If you are interested in experiencing what it’s like to stay in a Passivhaus property, he also has what he thinks is the only Passivhaus holiday accommodation in the UK! If Totnes is too far, then he also has contributed to The Passivhaus Handbook, a new book he has co-written with RIBA architect Janet Cotterell.