24 April 2013

17th International Passivhaus conference: highlights from Fran Bradshaw

ABG plenary talk, ABG are like the Co-op but operate in housing -  private and social, and everything else you can build  - car parks, offices, banks, police stations, nurseries. Apparently a quarter of Frankfurt's population live in one of their houses/flats, they've built 2000 passivhaus flats/houses and have 4000 more in the pipeline. Their slogan is 'passivhaus rechnet sich', (passivhaus pays).

The equivalent to the Head of Building Control - from Heidelberg City, describing how they are building 1700 new passivhaus flats/houses with mixed use development for 5000 jobs on an old goods yard site. All buildings are required to be developed to Passivhaus standard, PHPP is required with details as building control drawings are submitted, with follow up and site inspections. True it did look from the images as if white render/cladding was obligatory, but my prejudice!
On the tour we visited a fire station, where it turned out that sliding down the pole is critical. Apparently one person on the tour had been asked to design a fire station to Passivhaus, but couldn't achieve it because the authority insisted the pole had to go thru the thermal envelope, whereas in this scheme, the firefighters were allowed to jump down the pole and then go through a passivhaus door to the fire engine! 

The rather charming School we went to next - refurb and new build - also had some overheating problems, and another discussion ensured about the decision that the  MVHR should be switched off in summer. I liked the elegant way of incorporating the services/acoustic protection into the existing building,  wrapping around walls and ceiling, which allowed the ceiling concrete free to act as thermal mass.

My talk on retrofit & moisture led to interesting link up with New Zealand experience I hope to hear more about, but I was glad it was on the first day so i could enjoy the rest - especially,  especially the lovely company - thanks to all you UK gang and others for making it such a great fun time!

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