January 2016: CIBSE Journal case study on on how “Camden’s Agar Grove estate is to become the UK’s biggest residential Passivhaus project. Max Fordham’s Bertie Dixon describes the challenges of building an 18-storey tower to the standard, and explains why the council is committed to the low energy code
The redevelopment of the Agar Grove estate, in Camden, is not only expected to be the biggest residential Passivhaus development in the UK. It is also highly challenging for the designers involved.
As well as having an 18-storey Passivhaus residential tower on a tight inner-city site, the development is subject to environmental planning requirements that are not always compatible with Passivhaus principles. For example, heat networks might appear to be a prerequisite for large housing schemes in London, which means incorporating a network of heating pipes. The heat loss from the pipework introduces an increase in annual ‘primary energy demand’,I which is limited in the Passivhaus standard, so the project team had to work hard to come up with an ultra low-loss network design.” Read the full case study here.
Camden already has two other developments that meet the passivhaus standard – Loudoun Road and Alexandra Road,
March 2014: News that a £5m contract has been awarded “by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for the refurbishment of Stebon Primary School. The school will be the first Passivhaus School in London and only the sixth in the UK to be delivered under the highly sustainable Passivhaus standards, which are more traditionally used in house building.”
A submission to Tower Hamlets council as part of the planning application sets out some detail of how the refurb will seek to achieve a passivhaus standard:
- The sustainability and energy strategy have informed the building design. Passive design strategies have been adopted and include good orientation, compact building form, low U values, high air tightness, thermal mass, maximizing natural daylight internally, and solar control to southerly facades.
- Passivhaus utilises passive solar gain and night time purge ventilation in summer, coupled with heat recovery and rigorous thermal and airtightness requirements to greatly reduce energy consumption.
The report goes on to say to “achieve Passivhaus certification requires:
- Considered form and orientation – typically compact and east-west orientation making Stebon a good contender
- High levels of insulation
- Elimination of thermal bridges
- Air tightness
- Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)
- Winter solar gains
- Summer natural ventilation with night-time cooling”
An energy statement for the development provides further detail.
18 August 2011: The 53 home development based in Highgate will be the UK’s largest residential scheme so far to meet the PassivHaus standard, and will utilise a combination of super insulation to reduce heat loss in walls, roof and floor, and high levels of air tightness. Read the full story at build.co.uk.
July 2011: A timber framed, two bedroom house in Camden has become the first certified Passivhaus in London, setting a benchmark for energy efficient design for the city. Read the full Green Building Press article here.
2 March 2011: Octavia Housing have retrofitted an 1850s terraced house in a Holland Park conservation area to strict Passivhaus levels. Read more on the Passivhaus project here.
31 March 2016: Evening Standard property section article and video on a new bespoke passive house development in Camden – which states the house has an annual energy bill of just £100. Passive house experts, BERE Architects led on the build of the home – and their website has further details of projects across London including a community centre in Islington (and here); Exmouth Market; Brent; and Newington Green.
July 2013: Interesting news that a development of 8 homes in Hammersmith, built by Octavia Living, the not-for-profit housing development arm of Octavia Housing, have been built to passivhaus standards. Hammersmith Today states that the development is based in Sulgrave Gardens, off Shepherd’s Bush Road in the north of Hammersmith, and the passivhaus homes have been branded Greenhauses. There are six town houses and two mews houses, of which only two town houses are still for sale. The Greenhauses website states that these are a “first for London, the scheme will provide homes that cut heating bills by up to 90%.”
Camden had approved back in 2011 the build of a larger – 53 home – passivhaus development in Highgate through their Community Investment Programme. The latest report on the council’s website states that “building work at Chester Balmore is scheduled to complete this summer – with this scheme set to be the largest residential Passivhaus development in the UK.” Further information on this scheme can be read on Rick Mather Architect’s website and in the following article from the Camden New Journal. A useful note on passivhaus standards is on Wilmott Dixon’s website here (Wilmott Dixon are the builder of the Camden site).
Further passivhaus activities in London can be viewed on the following posts.
September 2012: The Retrofit for the Future programme’s Low Energy Buildings database website has recently been updated. The database is a repository of low-energy building information created to help inform the planning and development of low energy new build and refurbishment. The website allows users to browse projects in the database, and create and edit projects if you have a log-in.
A projects map highlights schemes funded across the UK and direct links to the 11 London based retrofit schemes follow below.
Eco Hub at Lordship Recreation Ground, Haringey
Hawthorn Road – Metropolitan Housing Trust, Haringey
The Muse – Islington
Mayville Community Centre
Tower Hamlets Passivhaus Retrofit
Camden Passivhaus – London’s first certified Passivhaus
PassivHaus Retrofit – Princedale Road
Hounslow Passivhaus Retrofit – Grove Road
One Planet Sutton Retrofit
Further information on the ‘Retrofit for the Future’ programme and evaluation of the projects submitted can be viewed here.
Posted in Energy Efficiency, News
Tagged Camden, Energy Efficiency, Hackney, Haringey, Housing, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Retrofit, Sutton, Tower Hamlets