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Passivhaus design standards are coming to the UK, in a bid to create fuel efficient, affordable housing. Enfield, Essex has been identified as one of the UK’s ‘energy crisis hotspots’. Places like Salford in Greater Manchester have already had 235 new homes constructed to Passivhaus standards. The project is being carried out by construction company Seddon, who are producing affordable scalable housing.
Energy crisis hotspots are communities identified as the most severely impacted by increasing energy prices. Top of the list are Birmingham, Bradford, Cornwall, Sandwell, County Durham and Enfield. Campaigners are urging the government to provide £15bn for a council led, street by street programme of insulation. They state that this scheme should be paid for by a tougher windfall tax. Friends of the Earth, who carried out the research, say that there are almost 9,000 energy crisis hotspots throughout England and Wales.
These communities are likely to suffer serious financial hardship, due to spiralling energy costs. They are locations where typical household incomes fall below the net average in the UK. In addition, properties in these areas will usually be poorly insulated and maintained, meaning they require more energy use to keep them warm.
Energy bills have already increased by more than 50% since August 2022, and are predicted to climb further soon. Annual energy costs are forecast to exceed 3,500 per average household, rising to 4,200 by 2023. Rising food prices and other living costs will plunge many into poverty.
The new Passivhaus builds are hoped to drastically reduce the energy costs of these homes, without compromising on energy efficiency. They include features such as:
- accurate design modelling to Passivhaus standards
- excellent levels of insulation
- very high performance windows and doors with insulated frames
- airtight building materials
- ‘thermal bridge free’ construction
- an efficient mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery