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Huge winter fuel bills? Not if you live in a Passivhaus...

10. November 2011

A recently completed Passivhaus in Scotland sets the example for ultra-low energy buildings and visitors can see for themselves during open days this month.

With the onset of long winter nights and continuing concerns over the cost of living, a heating bill of just over £100 a year might sound too good to be true.

But that's the total amount hat anyone living in a Passivhaus like the one recently completed near Cupar, in Fife, will pay. To put it in context, on the coldest day of the year, one candle, burning in each square metre of
floorspace generates enough heat to keep the indoor temperature at 20 degrees C.

Graham Drummond, director of St Andrews-based Passivhaus Associates, explains: “Passivhaus is fast becoming recognised as the international 'Gold Standard' for energy efficient buildings. Gradually, designers in the UK are beginning to adopt this voluntary set of rules to design low-energy buildings requiring very little heating in winter, yet extremely comfortable and healthy to live in all year round.”

A design that pays for itself

Admittedly, constructing very energy-efficient homes costs a little more than less energy-efficient ones. Here in the UK you could expect to spend up to 15% more for a Passivhaus than for a comparable one built to minimum legal standards but this difference will soon reduce.

But when you consider that that initially higher outlay will deliver a home that is substantially cheaper to run, year on year, for the whole of its life, at a time when fossil fuels are diminishing and energy costs are spiralling, it seems an obvious choice.

Graham explains: “Energy use in buildings accounts for more than 40% of Scotland's carbon dioxide emissions. Old buildings need to be made more energy efficient wherever possible and as funding permits and new buildings – which will be in use and consuming energy for the next 60 to 100 years - should be constructed to use substantially less energy than at present"

“In 2009, fuel poverty affected more than 800,000 households in Scotland. There is a political will to make our buildings more energy efficient. The Climate Challenge Fund is a Scottish Government initiatve for community projects and the Energy Saving Trust provides free advice and information so, one way or another our buildings are going to become more energy efficient. “I believe building to the Passivhaus standard is the answer. They are so well insulated that they lose hardly any heat in winter. The standard can also be used when upgrading existing buildings.

Open days

“Our two-bedroomed Passivhaus at Craigrothie near Cupar is now complete and we would invite anyone interested in finding out more about living more comfortably and more energy efficiently to make an appointment for one of our Open Days on November, 11,12 and 13. It's a fairly unique opportunity to see round such a building as there are only a few in Scotland.

“We will be happy to answer any questions about the Passivhaus that visitors may have.”

Graham Drummond can be contacted by emailing graham@passivhausassociates.co.uk or telephoning 07967 585414.

The new Passivhaus in Scotland

The new Passivhaus in Scotland 

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