Delivering the Passivhaus Standard in the UK: A review of the supply chain involved in new-build housing
Tom McNeil September 2012
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Design of Buildings
WELSH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE - CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
Abstract The UK Government set an 80% carbon dioxide emissions reduction target by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. This commitment will require carbon reductions to be made in all industries including housing, which presently accounts for around a quarter of the UKâ€™s carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the need to reduce the energy use of housing is crucial to meet these ambitious targets. The Passivhaus standard has been proven in various parts of Europe to reduce the energy consumption of housing. This thesis explores the opportunities for delivering the Passivhaus standard in the UK and focusses on the delivery through the supply chain, assessing the availability of products and skills required locally in the UK and the barriers preventing uptake. The research used a multi-method approach, using qualitative research via semistructured interviews, the analysis of case studies and a review into further literature. The major factor preventing innovation through the UK supply chain is a lack of clarity in the legislation, with little incentive to exceed the existing Building Regulations, resulting in reduced investment in research and development, and the lack of re-education throughout the supply chain. Austria and Belgium have successfully advanced their building standards and actively encouraged the uptake of the Passivhaus standard through incentive schemes and other measures, which has resulted in progressive innovation in the supply chain and allowed the production of products meeting the Passivhaus standard to advance. The researcher would recommend that example projects are constructed using masonry cavity wall, encourage UK manufacturers to specialize in the Passivhaus products market and ensure the Government brings clarity in the legislation and produce a clear route map up to 2020. This should give the industry more confidence and allow companies to invest and innovate through research and development. Incentive schemes for low energy housing and meeting the targets of Passivhaus or equivalent should also be established in the UK.
Contents Abstract .............................................................................................................................................. 1 List of figures and tables .................................................................................................................... 4 List of abbreviations ........................................................................................................................... 6 Acknowledgements............................................................................................................................ 7 1
Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 8
Low energy housing: Context and background ........................................................... 10
Research focus ............................................................................................................. 11
Research aims and objectives ...................................................................................... 12
Value of this research .................................................................................................. 12
Outline structure .......................................................................................................... 14
Literature Review ..................................................................................................................... 15
Climate Change ............................................................................................................ 15
The Passivhaus standard .............................................................................................. 17
History and background....................................................................................... 18
Passivhaus principles ........................................................................................... 21
Passivhaus planning package (PHPP) ................................................................... 24
Technical requirements of components .............................................................. 27
Passivhaus in the UK ............................................................................................ 33
Government policy: Drivers and barriers ............................................................ 37
Social barriers ...................................................................................................... 43
Technical barriers ................................................................................................ 44
Logistical barriers ................................................................................................. 45
Costs .................................................................................................................... 46
Supply chains................................................................................................................ 47
Literature review conclusion: Research questions ...................................................... 49 2
Methodology ......................................................................................................................... 50
Findings and analysis ............................................................................................................. 53
The role and importance of the UK supply chain ............................................................. 53 Case Study 1: Larch and Lime house ........................................................................... 58
Missing out on a growth market ...................................................................................... 62
The effect of changing the construction methods and supply chain ............................... 63 Case study 2: Wimbish development .......................................................................... 63 Case study 3: Sampson Close ...................................................................................... 65
Innovating the UK supply chain ........................................................................................ 67
Generating market demand in Passivhaus ....................................................................... 69
Learning from other European countries ......................................................................... 73
Barriers and enablers in Austria & Belgium ..................................................................... 75
Discussion .............................................................................................................................. 81
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 85
Limitations of research ..................................................................................................... 87
Recommendations for further research ........................................................................... 88
References ....................................................................................................................................... 89 Appendix A: Partial verbatim transcripts ..................................................................................... 98 Appendix B: Partial verbatim transcripts EU.............................................................................. 110
List of figures and tables
List of figures and tables Table 1: Passivhaus standard energy performance requirements for the UK climate. Source: Modified after: Siddall & Grant, (2011). (Pg. 23) Table 2: Allocation of Î¨opaq values into the Passive House efficiency classes. Source: PHI (c), (2012). (Pg. 28) Table 3: Embodied energy relating to the travel distances of different Passivhaus suitable windows. (Pg. 55)
Figure 1: Decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Source: Berkley Earth, (2011). (Pg. 16) Figure 2: Location of CEPHEUS projects. Source: Schnieders & Hermelink, (2006). (Pg.19) Figure 3: The number of Passivhaus dwellings inhabited increasing every year in Germany, with growth continuing prior to the CEPHEUS project. Source: Schnieders & Hermelink, (2006). (Pg. 20) Figure 4: Summary of the Passivhaus principles. Source: Modified after: Shufflebotham, (n.d.). (Pg. 22) Figure 5: Screenshot from verification page of PHPP 2007. (Pg.24) Figure 6: Comparison of results obtained by dynamic simulation (DYNBIL) with calculations produced with PHP. Source: PHI, (2007). (Pg.25) Figure 7: Boundary conditions, acceptable certification criteria and efficiency classes for glazing with map showing the classification of regions with equivalent requirements for certified Passivhaus glazing and transparent components. Source: PHI(c), (2012). (Pg. 29) Figure 8: Certification procedure required by the PHI. Source: PHI(c), (2012). (Pg. 30) Figure 9: Sections taken through Passivhaus windows. Source: Modified after: PHI(b) (2007). (Pg. 31) Figure 10: Estimated embodied energy of a 1.2x1.2m window frame. Source: Asif et al., (n.d). (Pg. 31) Figure 11: Passivhaus suitable external wall constructions. Source: IPHA(b), (n.d.). (Pg. 32) Figure 12: Passivhaus projects in the UK. Source: Google, 2012. (Pg. 33) Figure 13: Timeline of some of the key Passivhaus projects in the UK and future projects under development. (Pg. 34) 4
List of figures and tables Figure 14: UK Governmentâ€™s preferred hierarchy. Source: DCLG (2008). (Pg.37) Figure 15: Recommended FEES level with the range of specifications modelled. Source: ZCH (2009). (Pg. 39) Figure 16: Diffusion of innovations curve. Source: Wikipedia, (2012). (Pg. 41) Figure 17: Responses to the survey on the drivers for zero carbon homes in England. Source: Osmani & Oâ€™Reilly, (2009). (Pg. 42) Figure 18: The scope of supply chain management. Source: Oliver & Webber, (1982). (Pg. 47) Figure 19: Research method outline. Source: Modified after: Bryman, (2008). (Pg. 52) Figure 20: Map of Europe showing the import patterns of timber suitable windows and timber frame laminates. (Pg. 56) Figure 21: PHI certificate of the VPWP window. Source: VPWP, (2012). (Pg. 60) Figure 22: Shows how the Passivhaus standard has advanced in 10 countries participating in the PASS-NET project: Source: Intelligent Energy Europe (2012). (Pg. 75) Figure 23: Countries participating in the PassReg project. Source: PHI(d), (2012). (Pg. 76) Figure 24: Flow diagram of supply chain; highlighting supply and demand generated, and the important considerations and influences on the supply chain for low energy housing. (Pg. 84)
List of abbreviations Association for Environmentally Conscious Builders Building Research Establishment Building Performance Evaluation Conference of Parties Cost Effective Passive House as European Standard Code for Sustainable Homes Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Department for Communities and Local Government Department of Energy and Climate Change Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Energy Performance of Buildings Directive European Union Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard Greenhouse Gasses Homes and Communities Agency International Passive House Association Insulated Concrete Formwork Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery Modern Methods of Construction Master of Science National House Building Council Passivhaus Institute Passivhaus Planning Package Passive House Regions with Renewable Energies Plate-forme Maison Passive (Belgium PHI) Post Occupancy Evaluation Promotion of European Passive Houses Research and Development Scottish Building Standards Agency Small and Medium Enterprise Specific Heat Demand Specific Heating Load Structurally Insulated Panel United Kingdom United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Vale Passive Window Partnership Welsh School of Architecture Zero Carbon Hub
[AECB] [BRE] [BPE] [COP] [CEPHEUS] [CFSH] [BERR] [DCLG] [DECC] [DEFRA] [EPBD] [EU] [FEES] [GHG] [HCA] [IPHA] [ICF] [MVHR] [MMC] [MSc] [NHBC] [PHI] [PHPP] [PASSREG] [PMP] [POE] [PEP] [R&D] [SBSA] [SME] [SHD] [SHL] [SIP] [UK] [UNFCCC] [VPWP] [WSA] [ZCH]
Acknowledgements I would like to thank my supervisor Chris Tweed for his time and input over the course of the research. My thanks also to all the people who agreed to be interviewed and those who contributed indirectly to the research through informal discussions. I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust scholarship and so a special thank you to those within the Welsh School of Architecture who deemed me worthy of the award. Thank you to the Leverhulme Trust for providing the funding, without which I would not have been in a position to undertake the course.
The purpose of this thesis was to identify and understand the barriers to the development of Passivhaus housing in the UK. It explores the supply chain of Passivhaus components, systems and construction techniques required to progress the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale in the UK, covering the issues relating to the supply chain in achieving this transition. This research considers ‘local’ supply chains, meaning to be within the UK (also known as ‘domestic’ supply chains). ‘Regional’ supply chains (i.e. within a specific region of the UK) are also considered. Important research questions relating to this thesis include: 1.
In delivering the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale, what contribution or role will the UK supply chain have in delivering the standard?
Would innovation in the supply chain enable the UK to progress towards the Passivhaus standard or other very low energy building standards?
Where do the drivers come from to stimulate this supply chain?
These are the most critical issues that this thesis addresses. It summarises previous research undertaken on the standard (which includes social, technical and logistical issues) and aims to go deeper into the issue of supply chains, as the literature review identified a lack of existing debate on this issue. Some of the issues raised in this thesis are not necessarily applicable only to the Passivhaus standard, although, the Passivhaus standard has been used as a precedent to show what is currently perceived, in theory, as the best practice industry approach for reducing the energy used in housing. Some issues affecting the supply chains of high specification building components and skills will also be relevant to other forms of very low energy housing, as will some issues regarding legislation and policy. Passivhaus differs from other low energy housing due to its use of specialist products such as triple glazing and low U-value doors, highly efficient mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) and a building fabric with very low
Introduction air leakage and high levels of insulation. These are requirements of meeting the Passivhaus standard, with the aim of ensuring that a certain level of performance and quality is achieved. Previous academic research on the Passivhaus standard is often concerned with technical and to a lesser extent, social Issues, often focussing on the airtightness and use of MVHR. This is a very important issue and there are currently many Passivhaus projects in the UK where post occupancy evaluation (POE) is being carried out to assess the energy use and how the occupants use and operate the homes, e.g. The Tigh-NaCladach development, Scotland, The Larch and Lime Houses, Ebbw Vale, Wales, and Wimbish development, England. Although this will be touched on during this thesis the main focus will be concerned with the supply chain and how the Passivhaus standard could be delivered effectively in the UK market. The â€˜supply chainâ€™ for delivering Passivhaus encompasses the system of organisations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in delivering the Passivhaus standard for housing from the suppliers to the customer. This in itself is a large and potentially broad issue. Specific Passivhaus products have been focussed on, such as windows, as an example of a more specialist product required to meet the Passivhaus standard. This thesis does not set out to prove that the Passivhaus is the standard that the UK should adopt, but aims to assess the body of knowledge and issues affecting its possible implementation as an improved energy standard for UK housing.
Low energy housing: Context and background
The construction of low energy housing (i.e. housing that aims for higher energy efficiency standards than is deemed best practice by the Building Regulations) is important due to a need to reduce energy use. This should have the effect of cutting energy bills, thus reducing the number of people in fuel poverty and decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which contribute towards anthropogenic climate change. The UK has entered into an agreement as part of the UK Climate Change Act (2008) which sets a legally binding target requiring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to be reduced by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels (DEFRA, 2007). In the context of buildings the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) states: Buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption in the Union…Member states shall ensure that by the 31st December 2020, all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings…Nearly zero energy building means a building that has very high energy performance…The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should to very significant extent should be covered by energy from renewable sources, including renewable energy produced on-site or nearby.” (European Commission, 2010) Housing is responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s GHG emissions, so it would be impossible to meet the 2050 objective without changing emissions from homes (DECC, 2011). In order to achieve this, the building regulations from now until this date will need to significantly improve building standards. The need to improve the energy efficiency of housing is further exemplified by the proposals to build up to 240,000 new homes per year in order to address current shortages in the existing housing stock (DCLG, 2007). The need for the improved performance of housing has led to the creation of a number of standards which exhibit exemplary levels of energy efficiency. In 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched the Code for Sustainable Homes (CFSH). This measures the ‘sustainability’ of new homes against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the whole home as a complete package. It
Introduction covers energy/CO2 , water, materials, surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention), waste, pollution, health and well-being, management and ecology (DCLG, 2012). The Passivhaus standard relies on an energy performance specification which differs from the more holistic standard of the CFSH. However, it has been demonstrated that the Passivhaus standard can be integrated into the CFSH. Even though the Passivhaus standard has been designed and built to in Continental Europe for over 20 years, with proven results in its ability to reduce the energy use of houses (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006), the uptake in the UK has been relatively slow. However, with the recent completion of larger scale projects over the last few years, it would appear that the standard is gaining momentum in the UK.
1.2 Research focus The research focus is on the supply chain capable of delivering the Passivhaus standard in the UK housebuilding industry. Relevant literature indicates that the UK is not progressing as required to meet its energy targets and more must be done in terms of innovation in the industry in order to meet these targets (McLeod, et al., 2012). The Passivhaus standard represents a more radical response, which has the potential to reduce the energy use in homes and help to moderate the subsequent CO2 emissions. However, the UK may lack experience, knowledge and the local manufacturing industries capable of implementing the standard effectively. While this thesis will limit its focus to housing, many of the issues raised will also apply to non-domestic buildings. It was recognised by Lowe & Oreszczyn (2008), that the non-domestic sector is more complex and that â€œOver the last 30 years, many conceptual and technological advances in energy saving have come first in the domestic sectorâ€?. Therefore, the focus will be on the housing sector in order to provide a reasonable scope when applying the Passivhaus standard to policy and when analysing case studies.
1.3 Research aims and objectives Key research aims in order to answer the research questions include:
A literature review, highlighting the barriers (i.e. strengths and weaknesses) of the Passivhaus standard in the UK, identifying gaps in the body of knowledge and research.
A review of the current supply chain of Passivhaus products and systems available to the UK market focussing on key products and local suppliers.
To gain academic and industry views using qualitative research methods.
To identify issues with the current systems in place for a transition towards more energy efficient housing.
To develop a series of recommendations on how to improve the delivery of the Passivhaus standard in the UK if it is deemed appropriate.
1.4 Value of this research The literature review adds value by identifying key issues affecting the implementation of the Passivhaus standard. This provides valuable insight into the pros and cons and developed a number of issues which require further investigation, both in the context of this thesis and other research investigations. The inquiry into the supply chain gave an idea of how the UK is placed to deliver the Passivhaus standard. It has been cited that research into this topic is required. When analysing the prospect of Passivhaus housing Lowe and Oreszczyn (2008) state: “The DCLG and Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), need to take a view on the importance of a domestic supply chain capable of delivering Passivhaus components and systems to the UK housebuilding Industry”. They also mention that certain UK products such as windows, which are mass produced cost effectively to the Passivhaus standard on the continent by a number of suppliers, could mean that a large part of the existing supply chain is rendered 12
Introduction obsolete if trade in these products in directed abroad. This could be politically unacceptable and the industry may take a view that these difficulties are from a failure by the Government to provide the required support to advance the industry. They conclude by stating “If the view is taken that a domestic supply chain is essential, a programme has to be initiated immediately to convert the existing supply chain” (Lowe & Oreszczyn, 2008). The University of East Anglia (UEA, 2011) commented: The housing market crisis presents a unique opportunity to transform the quality of housing in England, to stimulate innovation, to create new business opportunities and supply chains, and to transform skills in the construction sector…By requiring that housing associations work with industry partners to build low-energy passive homes, the route out of this crisis can become an opportunity to fast-track UK construction to innovate, to develop the skills needed to build to very high quality standards, and to develop the supply chains that will anyway be necessary in years to come. Research by Osmani & Reilly (2009), concerning the feasibility of zero carbon homes, identified that 85% of the construction professional respondents who were surveyed considered ‘innovation within the supply chain’ as a significant or major driver to achieving the zero carbon target for all new homes by 2016. Wolfgang Fiest, the creator of the Passivhaus standard, identifies the supply chain as being crucial in delivering the standard: "It is generally important to get the industry in, the manufacturers and suppliers, the window makers and so on. When you do that, this becomes a much less expensive solution." (Fiest, 2011) These statements from academia and the construction industry, demonstrates the importance of this issue in progressing towards more energy efficient housing and that further research into this area is required within the industry.
1.5 Outline structure •
Chapter 2: ‘Literature Review’: The first part of Literature review sets up the principal problem of why we require energy efficient housing. The Passivhaus standard is then introduced giving an overview of how this standard represents a new way of construction in the UK. Details of the barriers and issues of the standard are assessed based on existing research. This leads into a further review concerning the issues regarding the supply chain and gearing up the UK to adopt a stricter energy efficiency standard.
Chapter 3: ‘Research Methodology’: Introduces the multi-methods approach used to gather answers to the questions arising from the literature review.
Chapter 4: ‘Findings and analysis’: provides a commentary and explanation of the research findings from the interviews and case studies undertaken. Quotes are taken from the verbatim interview transcripts to back up the researcher’s argument.
Chapter 5: ‘Discussion’: The research is considered with regard to the wider implications of the research and builds on commentary from the analysis.
Chapter 6: ‘Conclusion’: Provides an overall evaluation/summary of the research and offers recommendations relating to the research findings.
This literature review examines the current body of knowledge regarding the main issues surrounding the possible adoption of the Passivhaus standard in the UK, with an analysis of the significant barriers to adoption. The literature review assesses the current state of the supply chain of Passivhaus products and services in the UK.
This thesis is based on the premise that CO2 emissions must be limited to slow the rate of anthropogenic climate change and that using less of the planet’s finite fuel resources will increase the UK’s energy security for the future. Although the Passivhaus standard doesn’t directly consider CO2 emissions within its assessment criteria, it does aim to reduce the energy required for space heating and primary energy consumption. The less energy required for space heating should lead to reduced CO2 emissions (depending on the fuel source). The fuel mix of the UK is made up of around 84% fossil fuels (DECC, 2012), therefore this stands to reduce the use of fossil fuels, thus reducing CO2 emissions. The evidence for anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming and the risks are said to be intensifying. According to a joint statement of the academies of science of the G8+5 (2009) countries ‘‘Climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions.’’ Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty – The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This set out the general goals to attempt to reduce climate change. In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol established legally binding targets which the registered countries must meet. Under the Kyoto Protocol most industrialised nations agreed to legally binding emissions-reductions targets, which would collectively result in greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 5.2% below 1990 levels
Literature Review between the years 2008 and 2012 (the 'commitment period') (DECC, 2012). At the Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 there was an agreement that the rise in global temperatures must be kept to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, many felt that the talk in Copenhagen and subsequent COP negotiations have failed to address the magnitude of the problems (McKibben, 2012). Figure 1 demonstrates how land-surface temperatures have increased over time and how the current trajectory is approaching the 2°C rise.
Figure 1: Decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Anomalies are relative to the Jan 1950 - December 1979 mean. The grey band indicates 95% statistical and spatial uncertainty interval (Berkley Earth, 2011).
The second significant risk to civilisation is the potential depletion of fossil fuels which we rely on for energy supplies. The term ‘Peak fossil fuel’ refers to the likelihood of reaching a point where the production of fossil fuel grows, reaches a maximum (peak), and then gradually declines so that it increasingly cannot meet the demand (except at much higher prices which prevent its widespread use) (Bardi, 2009). This risk leads
Literature Review to the requirement for societies to become less dependent on fossil fuel, by making more efficient use of the fuels we currently have, and the transition towards an energy mix that is less dependent on fossil fuels through the incorporation of renewable energy technologies.
2.2 The Passivhaus standard The Passivhaus or ‘Passive House’ - as it is often referred to - is a quality control standard which aims to ensure that a building certified as ‘Passivhaus’ meets a set of strict standards relating to energy and provides occupants with a high level of comfort. The Passive House Institute (PHI) state that the Passivhaus is not a brand name, but a tried and tested construction concept that can be applied by anyone, anywhere with the aim to achieve thermal comfort through mostly passive measures via the use of insulation, heat recovery, passive use of solar energy and internal heat sources (IPHA (a), n.d.). The exact definition is given as: “A Passive House is a building, for which thermal comfort (ISO 7730) can be achieved solely by postheating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional recirculation of air.” (IPHA (a), n.d.) The standard is only loosely based on ‘passive solar’ design and the standard has been named ‘‘Passive House’’ because the ‘passive’ use of incidental heat gains delivered externally by solar irradiation through the windows and provided internally by the heat emissions of appliances and occupants. This, in theory, suffices to keep the building at comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the heating period (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006). In the UK it would appear that the standard is more often referred to as ‘Passivhaus’ rather than ‘Passive House’. From this point on, the author will refer to the standard as “Passivhaus” unless directly quoting from a source.
2.2.1 History and background The Passivhaus standard was originally developed in Germany in the early 1990s by Professors Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist. With funding by the State of Hesse, the requirements for energy-efficient houses were researched and prototypes of new building components were developed and produced. This included insulated window frames, reduced thermal bridges and CO2 regulated ventilation. In 1990-91, based on plans by Prof. Bott, Ridder & Westermeyer, four terraced house accommodation units were built in Darmstadt. The houses have been occupied since 1991. An accompanying monitoring programme provided information about super-insulated building components, windows, ventilation heat recovery, user behaviour, indoor air quality and amount of internal heat sources (Passipedia, 2012). The Cost Effective Passive Houses as European Standards (CEPHEUS) project ran from 1998-2001, with the object of demonstrating that the Passivhaus standard, which had been further developed over the past 7 years, could provide cost effective and technically feasible buildings built in a range of European countries. Within the CEPHEUS project, 250 housing units were built to Passivhaus standards in five European countries (see figure 2) (PHI (a), 2012).
Figure 2: Location of CEPHEUS projects (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006).
The project claimed to demonstrate (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006):
Functional viability of the Passivhaus concept at all sites.
Actual achievement of the space heat savings target.
Practical implementability of Passivhaus buildings in a variety of building styles and constructions.
Project-level economic viability and a high degree of satisfaction of building occupants.
Literature Review The apparent success of the CEPHEUS project then went on to increase demand for Passivhaus buildings in Germany, as is shown in figure 3.
Figure 3: The number of Passivhaus dwellings inhabited increasing every year in Germany, with growth continuing prior to the CEPHEUS project (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006).
The Passivhaus technology was reported to have triggered a fresh burst of innovation in the German construction industry. Passivhaus components were made available from an increasing number of manufacturers and by October 2003, 39 different Passivhaus windows were available. (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006). The CEPHEUS project was independently funded by the Directorate General XVII of the European Commission. The reports (all of those available in English) were produced with participation from the PHI. No similar pilot projects were produced in the UK at this time and this could account for the slow uptake of the standard when compared with the other nations. Passivhaus dwellings have been built using a range of construction methods. The Passive House Database provides a list of certified projects. The number of residential projects completed using timber frame is 158, with 147 in masonry (Passivhaus Dienstleistung GmbH, 2012).
Literature Review The NHBC Foundation (NHBC, 2011) made reference to the Passivhaus standard as “Setting the most stringent energy efficiency targets in the world.” The Swiss, MINERGIE-P standard also sets similar requirements based on Passivhaus standard and with a focus on a very low heating demand and high levels of occupant comfort. This has been taken a step further in the MINERGIE-A standard which sets an additional stipulation of having a ‘heat index’ of zero or less, which combines the fabric efficiency of the MINERGIE-P standard with renewable technologies (MINERGIE, 2012). The Association for Environmentally Conscious Builders (AECB) have produced a series of standards for the UK market. The Silver Standard uses some Passivhaus principals but aims not to present a major challenge for current building methods, with estimated savings of CO2 of 70% compared to 2006 Building Regulations. The Gold Standard is almost identical to the Passivhaus standard or the MINERGIE-P standard, and can achieve 95% lower emissions compared to 2006 Building Regulations (AECB, 2007).
The basic principles of designing to the Passivhaus standard are that thermal comfort can be achieved by incorporating (BRE, 2011):
Good levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges.
Passive solar gains and internal heat sources.
Excellent level of airtightness.
Good indoor air quality, provided by a whole house mechanical ventilation system with highly
efficient heat recovery. The most important principle is a continuous insulating envelope all around the building which minimises heat losses through the fabric. In addition there must be an airtight layer and careful detailing to avoid thermal bridges, as shown in figure 4. This all aims to avoid the loss of heat from the building envelope.
Figure 4: Summary of the Passivhaus principles: (a) – High levels of continuous insulation, (b) – Minimal thermal bridging, (c) – Continuous air barrier, (d) – High efficiency MVHR, (e) – Solar gains and orientation, (f) – Comfort. (Modified after: Shufflebotham, n.d.).
Heating is provided via the MVHR. The principle is that because very little heat is lost to the outside, heat from passive elements such as solar radiation and internal gains from occupants and equipment can meet most of the heating requirement of the building. A highly efficient MVHR will allow sufficient fresh air to enter the building and allow the purging of the heat from the extract air, with the added ability to actively heat the incoming air. This simple system means that very little additional heating is required (if any). Not using an additional heating system can only work in buildings with minimal heat losses (Passipedia, 2012). It is recommended that buildings are orientated to maximise passive solar gains in winter by orientating along
Literature Review an east/west principal axis so that the building faces within 30 degrees of due south (BRE, n.d). It is not, however, a requirement and a number of successful designs have been demonstrated where a favourable orientation was not possible due to site constraints (Fiest et al. 2005, cited in McLeod et al., 2010) (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006). It is also recommended to have a low surface area to volume ratio (A/V). It is advised to design buildings with a compact form, with a A/V value of ≤ 0.7m²/ m³ (BRE, n.d). The set of quantitative requirements that a Passivhaus must adhere to are given in Table 1
Passivhaus standard energy performance requirements (UK Climate) Specific heating demand (SHD)
≤ 15 kWh/m2/yr
Or, specific heating load (SHL)
≤ 10 W/m2
Entire specific primary energy demand
≤ 120 kWh/m2/yr
n50 ≤ 0.6 ach @ 50pa
Table 1: Passivhaus standard energy performance requirements for the UK climate (modified after: Siddall & Grant, 2011).
The standard requires that the ‘primary energy demand’ target is met in all cases. This figure must include the space heating, domestic hot water, lighting, fans and pumps and also all of the projected appliance consumption. In addition to the primary energy demand the standard permits that either the SHD or the SHL must be met. The SHL is given by the formula: 1 m3/(m2h) x 30 °C x 0.33 Wh/(m3K) = 10 W/m2 The formula gives the minimum ventilation rate required for indoor air quality (0.4ac/h) which results in at least 1m3/m2h, multiplied by the maximum design heat input (30 °C), multiplied by the specific heat capacity of air (0.33) (Passipedia, 2012).
2.2.3 Passivhaus planning package (PHPP) The PHPP software is a key part of designing to achieve the Passivhaus standard. The software was first introduced in 1998 with the English version becoming available in 2004. The software has constantly been updated with the most recent version, PHPP 7, brought out in 2012. The software is Excel spreadsheet based and provides the user with a verification page (figure 5) which shows how the building performs based on the input data.
Figure 5: Screenshot from verification page of PHPP 2007.
The PHPP is based on a static thermal analysis and it is claimed by Feist (2007) that although PHPP is a simplified model, when used for design/analysis the results compare favourably to those using dynamic thermal analysis. Figure 6 shows a comparison with dynamic software. PHPP is aimed at being used not only as a compliance tool to ensure the Passivhaus standard but also as a design and optimisation tool for architects, engineers and designers (Feist, 2007).
Figure 6: Comparison of results obtained by dynamic simulation (DYNBIL) with calculations produced with PHPP (PHI, 2007).
The use of appropriate climate data is essential for accurate design as the climate files in PHPP define the boundary conditions upon which all of the thermal calculations are based. The BRE have now produced 22 regional UK climate data sets, applicable for use in the PHPP (BRE, 2012).
2.2.4 Certification process No additional skills are required by anyone within the design and construction process to build to the Passivhaus standard, however, the process is different to what many within the industry are used to. A house will not achieve Passivhaus Certification unless it can be shown to be designed and constructed to all the certification criteria. This will involve (Siddall & Grant, 2011):
The use of PHPP and the entry of the correct data. 25
That all relevant design assumptions and boundary conditions accord with those established by the PHPP.
That the conductivities of all materials, products, components and constructions (including thermal bridging) satisfy the relevant EN standards.
That the internal surface temperature of the windows will not fall below 17°C on the coldest day of the year.
That pressure tests have been undertaken in accordance with EN 13829.
That where MVHR is utilised it satisfies the PHI’s strict performance requirements for those systems.
That the MVHR systems are commissioned in accordance with the requirements of the Passivhaus standard.
That the contractor writes a declaration confirming that the building has been built in accordance with the contract documentation.
Photographic records of the project are retained.
There is a comprehensive set of construction drawings and documentation.
Being able to demonstrate that the energy performance standards established by the PHI have been satisfied (see table 1).
Certification must be traceable back to the PHI in Germany. There are currently a number of certification bodies in the UK including the BRE, AECB and the Scottish Passivhaus Association. Certification can only be achieved after the building is completed and after satisfactory airtightness and commissioning tests. A completed copy of the PHPP must be completed by an appointed European certifier. This process costs around £1500 ex VAT for a domestic home of moderate complexity (AECB, 2009). The use of specialised calculation tools implies a significant amount of qualification or education of a member of the building team and is recognised as a potential bottleneck in the implementation (Mlecnik et al., 2010). This process requires completing as well as obtaining Building Regulations compliance, which results in extra work for the design team and contractors, inevitably adding to the project costs.
2.2.5 Technical requirements of components Achieving a SHD of 15kWh/m2/yr or less means that the following guideline targets need to be achieved as a minimum (Mead & Brylewski, 2012):
A recommended opaque fabric thermal transmittance coefficient ( U-value) of ≤ 0.15W/m2.
U-values for windows and doors (for both the frame and glazing, Uw) need to be ≤ 0.8W/m2K (0.85W/m2K installed).
Thermal bridging ideally needs to be eliminated or minimised, a psi (Ψ) value of <0.01W/m2K is considered thermal bridge free.
An air pressure test must result in an n50 airtightness level of 0.6ach, averaged over pressurisation and depressurisation.
Whole house MVHR that is 75% efficient or better, with a low specific fan power.
The PHI has been certifying components for the last 15 years, providing a quality assurance guarantee ensuring suitability. Over 300 components have been certified according to the PHI criteria and a database for certified components has now been established by the PHI (Passivhaus Trust (a), 2012). A building can achieve the Passivhaus certification standard using products that are not certified by the PHI, provided that the products used meet the necessary performance requirements. It should be noted that the use of Passivhaus certified, or Passivhaus suitable, products and materials is not evidence of suitability in all cases. However, the use of certified components does simplify the audit trail that is utilised by the standard (Siddall & Grant, 2011). Glazing and Transparent Components – There are many strict stipulations on the glazed elements which relate to heat transfer and thermal comfort. In general window elements should be triple glazed, argon filled, have a low-e coating and highly insulated frames. They are a critical component in achieving Passivhaus certification. A minimum temperature difference of volume enclosing surfaces is set at 4.2 °C. This stipulates that the 27
Literature Review minimum surface temperature may deviate by a maximum of 4.2 °C between any internal surfaces (eg. glazing and walls). A greater difference may lead to unpleasant cold air descent and radiant discomfort felt by the occupants. The maximum U-values of installed transparent Passivhaus building components under heating dominated situations can be calculated using this formula (PHI (c), 2012):
The heat transfer coefficient for the above formula are dependent on the climate. Economic feasibility studies show that, in mild, heating-dominated climates, heat transfer coefficients better than those required by the comfort criterion alone are needed to reach an economic optimum (PHI (c), 2012). The air velocity in the living area must be less than 0.1m/s. This requirement restricts the air permeability of a building component as well as cold air descent. For vertical surfaces, adherence to the temperature difference requirement means compliance with the draught requirement. Efficiency classes are set for glazing and additionally for the whole window unit based on the thermal bridge loss coefficient (Ψopaq) of their opaque components. The frame U-values and widths as well as the glass edge Ψ-values and lengths are included in these heat losses. Table 2 shows how the Ψ-values dictate the efficiency class of a window unit.
Table 2: Allocation of Ψopaq values into the Passive House efficiency classes (PHI (c), 2012).
Passive House suitability is determined using the U-value of the installed/uninstalled building component and the temperature factor at the glass edge, the coldest point of the window frame. The U-values and the
Literature Review ψ-values are to be ascertained in accordance with DIN EN ISO 10077, EN 673 and DIN EN 13947, as are the U-values and the respective ψ-values for defined frame sections (PHI (c), 2012)
Figure 7: Boundary conditions, acceptable certification criteria and efficiency classes for glazing with map showing the classification of regions with equivalent requirements for certified Passivhaus glazing and transparent components (PHI (c), 2012).
Glazing U-values (Ug) for certification are ascertained according to EN 673. A different outdoor temperature is taken for each region (see figure 7), as the glazing U-value is dependent on temperature difference whereas 20°C is always used as the indoor temperature. In the heating-dominated regions, the outdoor temperature used is based on the average temperature during the Passivhaus heating period: (5°C for the UK) (PHI (c), 2012).
Literature Review The certification procedure for glazing and transparent components is outlined in figure 8. The following documents are required for certification by the PHI (PHI (c), 2012):
Sectional drawings showing materials with different conductivities
Information on the thermal conductivities of the materials
Exact product information about the spacer and drawings showing suitable installation in three
different Passivhaus wall types.
Figure 8: Certification procedure required by the PHI (PHI (c), 2012)
In order to reach the standard most window frames will be insulated and will often use a thermal break within the frame to get down to the required U-value. Although Passivhaus builders can use any window,
Literature Review choosing a Passivhaus certified window is the easiest option as it requires less work in the PHPP software (Holladay, 2009).
Figure 9: Sections taken through Passivhaus windows (Modified after: PHI (b), 2007)
Passivhaus windows have been constructed using a range of materials including uPVC, timber, aluminium, aluminium-clad timber and fiberglass. They all vary in predicted service life, embodied energy and cost. uPVC is the cheapest option and aluminium-clad timber the most expensive (Eliason, 2011). The estimated embodied energy of a uPVC window is 3 times higher than a timber window (see figure 10). uPVC also has an estimated service life 15 years less than that of timber window (Asif et al., n.d). Therefore this thesis will only consider timber windows.
Figure 10: Estimated embodied energy of a 1.2x1.2m window frame. (Asif et al., n.d).
Literature Review Building Fabric – The Passivhaus standard does not dictate that a certain type of wall construction should be used (IPHA (b), n.d.). Figure 11 shows examples of typical construction details which meet the standard using a variety of building materials. The design of the wall construction can incorporate standard techniques used in the UK such as cavity wall (not featured on figure 11 but demonstrated on the Denby Dale Passivhaus, figure 13) or timber frame, or use alternative construction techniques more commonly found in continental Passivhaus designs, such as solid masonry with external insulation, or modern methods of construction (MMC) such as structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete formwork (ICF) (McLeod et al., n.d).
Figure 11: Passivhaus suitable external wall constructions (IPHA (b), n.d.)
The key requirements of air tightness, reduced thermal bridging and U-values must be met in order to achieve certification. As with windows, the internal surface temperatures must be above 17 °C (at Te = -10 °C and Ti = 20 °C) (PHI (c), 2012).
2.2.6 Passivhaus in the UK The number of Passivhaus certified projects in the UK has risen to over 20 and includes schools, offices, multi-residential social housing and one-off dwellings. Figure 12 shows a map of Passivhaus projects maintained by the Passivhaus Trust and figure 13 shows a timeline displaying the growth in scale of Passivhaus residential schemes in the UK since the first certified Passivhaus dwelling completed in 2009.
Figure 12: Passivhaus projects in the UK. Completed schemes in blue and schemes in the pipeline in green (Google, 2012).
Figure 13: Timeline of some of the key Passivhaus projects in the UK and future projects under development.
Literature Review McLeod et al. (2010) conducted a study looking into whether the Passivhaus principles could be a valid starting point from which to develop zero carbon housing, taking Wales, UK as the location under investigation. The case study used a detached Passivhaus using two different sets of climate data, one generated specifically for the site using the Meteonorm software and default weather data for Manchester. The report concludes that the Passivhaus standard can be more easily achieved in a Welsh climatic context than in continental Europe. This was also suggested by Ford et al. (2007) who conducted a study as part of the Passive-On Project, who found the Passivhaus heating performance standard (15kWh/m2) could be achieved in the UK. This would be as expected due to the milder winter design temperatures. The report by McLeod et al. (2010) suggests that procurement of regionally sourced Passivhaus components is an important objective for regional economic regeneration. It also identifies issues with the buildability of Passivhaus houses in Wales and whether the construction industry in Wales is capable of meeting the standard. It is suggested that MMC are the most appropriate and identifies Wales as gradually beginning to develop an MMC capability but this may not provide sufficient quantity for several years. Schiano-Phan et al (2008) also states the importance of using MMC to promote new ways of providing affordable, environmentally sustainable housing which is innovative in design, relying primarily on timber framing skills and techniques. However, McLeod et al (2010) also states that MMC and timber frame are not a requirement of Passivhaus. Data from Austria shows that around 30% of the Passivhaus homes are built using masonry construction (IG Passivhaus Oberosterreich, 2008 cited in McLeod et al., 2010). The UK predominantly uses masonry methods of construction, which accounts for around 85% of new build housing (Buildingtalk 2006 cited in Lovell & Smith 2010). As interest in the Passivhaus standard has grown, the first UK Passivhaus conference was organised in London in 2010. The event included a keynote speech by the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, who stated: I would like to see every new home in the UK reach the Passivhaus standardâ€ŚThis will help us to break away from the model of homes being developed at low cost, but which are expensive to run.
Literature Review Moving toward a new concept of value in home ownershipâ€ŚWe need a new paradigm in housing, where value is measured in the running costs to 2050 and beyond (DECC, 2010). This quote by Huhne acknowledges some of the major flaws in UK mass housebuilding industry, relating to inadequate quality resulting in underperforming buildings. There are currently a number of companies which provide Passivhaus training, which offer courses for trades-people and the design team to become certified Passivhaus designers. There are also a few UK suppliers distributing Passivhaus products such as windows, doors and MVHR units certified or suitable for the Passivhaus standard. The first of these was the Green Building Store, which won a Queen's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development 2009 for its 'pioneering approach to sustainability' and for providing 'cutting edge sustainable productsâ€™. Other companies that distribute Passivhaus suitable products include: R A Scott consultants, GreenSteps Ltd, Ecohaus SW Ltd, The Passivhaus Store (AECB, 2012). There are a number of European window manufactures that distribute Passivhaus suitable and certified windows, these include Internorm, Energate, Variotec, Enersign, Optiwin etc. There are currently two UK manufacturers producing Passivhaus certified windows in the UK, both from the Vale Passive Window Partnership (VPWP) consisting of CP Joinery and Thomas Joinery.
2.2.7 Government policy: Drivers and barriers Passivhaus is becoming more common and the body of evidence grows for the possibility of its wider implementation in the UK. However, there are still a number of barriers which prevent its uptake on a larger scale. This section looks into the policy and where the UK is heading with its low carbon agenda for housing and where the drivers come from to improve the standards. In order to reduce the CO2 emissions from new dwellings the UK introduced a target that new homes must be zero carbon from 2016, which equated to CFSH Level 6. The original definition defined a zero carbon home as having “Net carbon dioxide emissions from all energy used in the dwelling are zero or better”, which included the use of appliances (DCLG 2006). A revised definition followed in 2008 due to concerns from the construction industry. The DCLG (2008) set out a preferred hierarchy for the delivery of, zero carbon with energy efficiency the most important factor in delivery (see figure 14).
Figure 14: UK Government’s preferred hierarchy - showing carbon offset measures (DCLG, 2008).
This may indicate that Passivhaus adheres to the hierarchy set out by the Government due to its primary focus being on reducing the energy used from the fabric of the building (fabric-first approach). However, McLeod et al. (2012) states, “Although this structure appears to prioritise energy efficiency, the introduction of ‘Allowable Solutions’ has effectively introduced a buyout clause.” This implies that it has
Literature Review become less onerous to build homes to the zero carbon standard and there has been a significant slackening of the key energy efficiency parameters required to achieve a zero carbon dwelling compared with the original definition. This leads to the question of whether this zero carbon approach is in line with the energy efficiency and CO2 reduction targets set out in the UK Climate Change Act and policies in the EPBD (McLeod et al. 2012). The Zero Carbon Hub was formed in June 2008 with the purpose to “Facilitate the mainstream delivery of low and zero carbon homes” (ZCH, 2012), and is managed by a range of stakeholders across the UK construction industry. A task group was set up to define a fabric energy efficiency standard (FEES) for zero carbon homes, with the job to “Examine the energy efficiency metrics and standards which will realise our ambition of the highest practical energy efficiency level realisable in all dwelling types” (ZCH, 2009). The task group used a performance metric of kWh/m2/yr, which allowed for the comparison of different fabric energy efficiencies independent of fuel type, contrary to the overall zero carbon metric of kg/CO2/yr. The Task Group recommended that the minimum FEES should be set at: • 39 kWh/m2/yr for apartment blocks and mid terrace houses. • 46 kWh/m2/yr for semi-detached, end of terrace and detached houses. It was claimed that: This sets a challenging but realistic increase in dwelling performance…Government was considering challenging standards such as Passivhaus...On balance and taking into account a range of important decision criteria the Task Group decided that the above levels would be more appropriate. (ZCH, 2009) Figure 15 shows how this compares to the Passivhaus standard. The figures are based on the UK SAP methodology minus internal domestic hot water gains (ZCH, 2009). When considering the comparisons the Task Group acknowledged that “Trying to achieve Passivhaus performance using typical current designs does not take advantage of the role passive solar gains and optimised orientation can play.” (ZCH, 2009).
Literature Review Therefore, it could be expected that designing using principles of the Passivhaus standard and the PHPP software may lead to further reductions in the performance of SPEC D (Passivhaus equivalent).
Figure 15: Recommended FEES level with the range of specifications modelled (ZCH, 2009).
The report also stated that: When initially reviewing these results there were, in general, two views expressed. One being that the Passivhaus range of performance (Spec D) represented the ‘level’ of ambition required and that the resulting construction specifications were indeed buildable. The opposing view was that a construction specification closer to A or B was a pragmatic, buildable level suitable for a minimum standard…47% of people had serious concerns about the buildability of Specification D (Passivhaus) at mass scale in 2016. (ZCH, 2009) However, no information is given in the report regarding the personnel involved in the study. The resulting advice from the ZCH will mean an increased level of on-site renewables and allowable solutions must be included to achieve the zero carbon goal, when compared against higher specification fabric options such as the Passivhaus standard. This would suggest that the focus is being taken away from the performance of the building. Grant (2012) argues that energy demand targets should be set for 39
Literature Review buildings, and be independent of any renewables that might just happen to be located on site, nearby or otherwise linked to the building through supplier agreements or allowable solutions. Reports from the ZCH give the impression that the route to zero carbon by 2016 is being watered down to make it easier to achieve required energy efficiency standards posed by the building fabric, with the result of more emphasis being placed on renewable energy generation. Changes are being proposed to the Building Regulations Part L: Conservation of Fuel and Power due in 2013 to act as an interim step for the longer term targets in 2016 and 2020. Proposals for England represent an 8% decrease in CO2 emissions compared with the 2010 Part L (equivalent to current CFSH level 3) and the Government state “The Government would use the recommendations of the Zero Carbon Hub as a starting point for future consultation to identify cost-effective levels for on-site carbon emission levels (‘carbon compliance’ targets).” (DCLG, 2012) From a housebuilders perspective there are a number of drivers to push towards achieving the zero carbon target and lower energy housing. Osmani & O’Reilly (2009) list these drivers as: Business – Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has some potential to drive towards advancing the industry. A survey of 20 of the UK’s largest house builders revealed that 70% report publicly on their approach to sustainability, with 65% having a corporate sustainability policy WWF (2007). Investing in achieving high standards of environmental and social performance was also linked to attracting high calibre employees and customers. Cultural – Customer demand is a key driver. Promoting a culture of sustainability could be spurred by Government initiatives. Lutzendorf and Lorenz (2007) refer to the integration of sustainability factors in property valuations as being important in developing this culture. This drive in culture may be particularly pertinent when considering the shift in culture required to live in, or buy, a Passivhaus. Legislative – The route towards zero carbon will be a major driver in pushing the industry. At present, legislation is likely to be the most influential driver for house builders to build zero carbon and those who
Literature Review adopt a pro-active attitude will benefit financially by meeting future standards more efficiently (Carter, 2006, cited in Osmani & Oâ€™Reilly, 2009). This could be better illustrated by the Diffusion of Innovation adoption curve developed by Everett Rogers in 1962 (see figure 16). Diffusion stages show individual decisions about the timing of adoption to a given innovation. The timing of adoption reflects assessments of risk and cost, with innovation being inherently risky and disruptive. Positive reasons for both first mover and second-mover advantage can be found, with advantage tipped to the second-mover under conditions of uncertain profitability (Hoppe 2000; Tellis and Golder 1996; Jensen 1982, cited in Koebel et al. 2003). Late movers, however, run the risk of losing competitive position (Bryant et al. 1990, cited in Koebel et al. 2003).
Figure 16: Diffusion of innovations curve. Successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach saturation level (Wikipedia, 2012).
Rogers defines five perceived attributes of an innovation that can help explain the rate of adoption of an innovation: relative advantage, complexity, trialability, observability and compatibility (Rogers 2003, cited in Mlecnik et al. 2010). There is an on-going debate surrounding these energy labels for highly efficient houses, saying that: â€œLess complex procedures might be more cost effective, but more complex procedures might be a better guarantee of energy performance.â€? (Visscher & Mlecnik, 2009). Passivhaus may be 41
Literature Review considered as relatively complicated due to the rigour and quality control required to achieve the certification. A study by Adeyeye et al (2007) asked 32 UK architects about their views on current energy policies and energy conservation legislation on building design, via a questionnaire survey. The survey results appear to reveal that several factors can influence the implementation of energy legislation including: Financial drivers - Energy conservation is highly influenced by cost, which results in clients not engaging with environmental agendas due to no perceivable benefits or immediate payback. This results in architects being forced to only meet minimum requirements. This also relates back to the cultural issues highlighted by Osmani & O’Reilly (2009). Architects were of the opinion that clients are unlikely to notice the value of energy conservation features in briefs and proposals. This suggests that incentives should be provided to embrace an energy efficiency culture (Adeyeye et al., 2007). The study by Osmani & O’Reilly (2009) focussed on the housebuilders. They conducted interviews and questionnaires seeking to gain insights into house builders’ current practices and the challenges facing the housebuilding industry in England. The respondents rated the most influential drivers to zero carbon housing developments. Figure 17 shows the results of the study and shows that legislative drivers have the highest impact on house builders current work practices.
Figure 17: Responses to the survey on the drivers for zero carbon homes in England. (1 = not a driver – 5 = major driver). Osmani & O’Reilly (2009).
Literature Review Government policies were highlighted, such as the Energy White Paper as an important driver. This was surpassed by the importance of ‘environmental legislation’ as the most critical driver for zero carbon homes. Making the standard compliant with Part L of the Building Regulations is the most effective way of driving the industry towards zero carbon homes. Key cultural drivers were identified through innovation in the supply chain. This was rated as a significant driver by 85% of the surveyed respondents. The report highlighted that “Supply chain could be a major driver if new technologies and products are developed; however, the lack of innovation within the supply chain is a major barrier” (Osmani & O’Reilly 2009). Manufacturing industries were highlighted as having an inability to gradually invest in new technologies to innovate products and systems. The Passivhaus standard represents an even greater change to the industry compared to what is now being proposed by Government legislation with regard to the proposed future standards for the building fabric and energy efficacy the building (not accounting for renewable energy). A whole series of social, technical and logistical barriers must be overcome in order for its progression on a larger scale.
2.2.8 Social barriers One of the big issues facing the future growth of the Passivhaus standard is the human influence. In order for any piece of architecture to be successful it must work for the occupants and provide a pleasant environment in which to live.
Airtight building envelopes and MVHR are a relatively new concept in the UK. Ziegler (2011) undertook a questionnaire survey of 166 people in Wales asking whether they could accept living in a house which uses an MVHR unit to provide fresh air. 44% of the respondents reported that they could live with the adaption, 28% could probably live with it, while 24% were either undecided or could not live with it.
Consumer aspirations also are an issue. Typically in the UK it may be expected that a house has a wet central heating system and a fireplace. Matteini (2010) asked 100 people what they felt was important in a house. 8% of respondents regarded a fireplace as very important, with 28% saying it is not important. The most important factor from this research was low energy bills, with 63% of respondents regarding this as very important.
Ziegler (2011) asked people whether they would like to live in a Passivhaus. The majority (48%) of the general public said Maybe, where as 59% of building professionals said Yes. The response from the general public would imply a general lack of education and understanding of the standard, as neither a positive or negative opinion was given. The positive response from the building professionals implies people are aware of the possible advantages that living in a Passivhaus could bring.
2.2.9 Technical barriers There are a number of technical barriers to progressing the Passivhaus standard in the UK:
Airtightness must be checked throughout the build process with detailed drawings on site which aid contractors to minimise gaps and also prevent thermal bridging.
Timber frame is perceived to be the most effective way of achieving the Passivhaus standard because of the ease of achieving the required airtightness, but this is not the typical/native way to construct housing in the UK. Doubts exist over how effective cavity wall construction can be in achieving the Passivhaus standard. A lack of thermal mass inherent in lightweight timber frame may potentially cause issues with overheating.
Filters of MVHR systems are often said to be neglected by occupants, which can cause problems with inadequate ventilation (Scottish Building Standards Agency (SBSA), 2008, cited in Tweed & McLeod 2008)
Commissioning of the MVHR system is vital to achieving satisfactory conditions. If the commissioning is not fully carried out the whole building will not function correctly.
Currently a scarcity of research regarding health issues associated with internal air borne pollutants in airtight UK dwellings using mechanical ventilation. Further research is needed to strengthen UK domestic ventilation guidance and regulations (McLeod et al. 2012)
Adoption of new construction details for large house builders (PEP 2012).
Because Passivhaus is a voluntary certification scheme there is still a requirement to assess the building using the Building Regulations SAP software to gain code compliance. A scheme wishing to be certified as a Passivhaus in the UK must therefore meet the criteria in both SAP and PHPP, which increases the work required by the design team and adds to the costs. The AECB has been lobbying to give a Passivhaus dwelling ‘deemed to satisfy’ status for meeting the 2013 Building Regulations. However, there are no references to Passivhaus standard in the draft regulations for changes to Part L in 2013 (Thorpe, 2012).
Education through the whole supply chain is currently an issue. Bere (cited in Buxton, 2012) states “It needs architects to lead and get to grips with technical issues…Taking the time to go into a collaborative approach with the contractor right from the drawing stage.” This additional collaboration may be a new way of working for many design teams.
The UK housebuilding industry is potentially unprepared for the challenges posed by tougher standards. It neither has the technology to deliver on them, nor knows what would be required to do so (Lowe & Orenszczyn, 2008). Mead (cited in Buxton, 2012) states: There’s a lot of technical expertise that goes into Passivhaus that’s probably above best practice in the UK, although this is getting better…There is a missing link when it comes to
Literature Review implementing it on site â€” contractors arenâ€™t used to working to the level of detail and attention needed, especially when it comes to airtightness. â€˘
Public support and rhetoric over the last 15 years in the UK have focussed on support for large construction firms, ignoring the fact that a lot of effective innovation has been taken by small companies. Structural features of large companies that impede rather than facilitate training education and learning from experience should be identified (Clarke, 2006, cited in Lowe & Orenszczyn, 2008).
Cost is a key issue when considering the Passivhaus standard and is one of the major barriers to its continued development in the UK. The extra costs in building to the Passivhaus standard in comparison to a typical house meeting Building Regulations are from the Passivhaus products such as triple glazing, MVHR and to a lesser extent the airtight tapes and higher levels of insulation. Some of the additional costs could be recouped by the reduced need for a traditional wet heating system. Costs will be higher due to the extra rigour in the level of detail required at the design and construction phase when considering airtightness and thermal bridging which goes beyond current best practice. The process of getting the building officially certified by the PHI also adds cost (see section 2.2.4). There appears to be a lack of fully transparent data on the additional costs in the UK and hence proposed estimates are often difficult to substantiate. The CEPHEUS project (see section 2.2.1) provided a set of cost comparisons. On average over the 12 projects, the specific extra investment costs were 91 Euro/m2, or 8% of the total building cost (Schnieders & Hermelink, 2006). However this figure fluctuated greatly. A project in Austria reported additional costs of 17% compared with another project in Austria reporting 0% additional costs.
2.3 Supply chains A supply chain is defined as “The network of organizations that are involved, through upstream and downstream linkages, in the different processes and activities that produce value in the form of products and services in the hands of the ultimate consumer” (Christopher 1992). The flow of a typical UK construction supply chain is shown as the route of products and services through from suppliers to the final product (i.e. a house occupied by the end user), as shown in Figure 18.
Figure 18: The scope of supply chain management, reproduced from original image (Oliver & Webber 1982).
The UK has problems in construction related materials and component supply industries, with UK companies unable to produce all of the goods needed by the construction industry and many are now sourced from overseas. The trade deficit (imports minus exports) in construction stood at £2.8 billion at the end of the 1980’s. Since 1990, the UK has lost many manufacturers and suppliers with an estimated 105,000 jobs lost from the beginning of the 1980’s to the mid 1990’s (Flanagan et al. 1995, cited in Agapiou et al. 1998). There are many reasons for the UK’s lack of competitiveness. Agapiou et al (1998) claim “Dumping of subsidized products by foreign manufacturers and cheap imports from low wage economies” as two reasons but accept that the reasons are complex and different for each sector of the market. The construction industry is very competitive. Good management practices within the supply chain and Just-in-Time (JIT) building materials management practices give potential to reduce costs ensuring contractors are competitive. This requires contractors and suppliers to develop relationships with the free exchange of information between them (Agapiou et al. 1998). Education and understanding is therefore a key ingredient for a successful supply chain in delivering a desired product. 47
Literature Review Using supply chains based in the UK may provide an easier exchange of information and the facilitating of an improved supply chain capable of reducing costs as relationships between the supply chain and contractor are formed. However, this may not always result in reducing the transport distance of products and services. If the supply chain required for a project in south England is from Scotland this may result in higher transport costs and increased embodied energy when compared with a supply chain from some areas of Europe. Regional supply chains would always be capable of providing the lowest travel distance and possibly the best level of service. In terms of global trade the EU operates free trade agreements between all European nations. This opens up the market for products and skills to be freely traded. This will lead to certain countries being able to produce products and goods at lower costs than other countries based on the cost of labour. Therefore certain parts of the supply chain may be required to be based in other countries due to economic reasons.
2.4 Literature review conclusion: Research questions The literature review has highlighted where the Passivhaus standard sits within the UK housing market and the issues and barriers affecting its potential to grow to become adopted on a larger scale. The issues arising have pointed towards the importance of gearing up the supply chain to enable the standard to be more effectively implemented. The literature review has also highlighted the rigour required to meet the Passivhaus standard and the methods of construction which prove to be the most applicable. The Passivhaus standard has shown substantial growth in the last few years and the issues surrounding the supply chain involved in the Passivhaus standard are complex with various drivers and barriers evident at different stages. Research points to a lack of innovation in the supply chain being a major barrier, but with little research or knowledge on how this innovation could be created to drive towards the construction of lower energy housing and the Passivhaus standard in the current housing market. The key questions which have been identified from the literature review are: 1.
In delivering the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale, what contribution or role will the UK supply chain have in delivering the standard?
Would innovation in the supply chain enable the UK to progress towards the Passivhaus standard or other very low energy building standards?
Where do the drivers come from to stimulate this supply chain?
The research strategy adopted is a qualitative multi-method research approach. The multi-method approach is a strand of a mixed method approach as described by Spratt et al. (2004). Methods used include:
In-depth semi-structured interviews.
Analysis of case studies.
Additional research from documents.
The research strategy also uses elements of the grounded theory approach, as shown in figure 19. This research strategy was adopted to gain the richest source of information and identify key issues which could be researched further, both during the course of the research and for future research. The aim of the interviews was to gauge the opinions of professionals working in the supply chain. The interviewees were chosen from within each area of the supply chain to get a holistic overview of delivering Passivhaus housing in the UK. This information was supplemented by gaining the opinions of people from outside the supply chain, who either have an academic view, or have influence on Government policy and legislation which may affect the supply chain. Questions were phrased differently depending on the background, expertise and position within the supply chain of the interviewee, as questions which apply to one sector may not be applicable to another. An interview template was offered to the participants prior to the interviews taking place. In some instances the interviewee did not require the template. However, the researcher used the template in the interviews to maintain a focus and to keep the interviewee on subject. Where possible the interviews were conducted face-to-face. If this proved impractical for the interviewee a telephone interview was conducted, and in some cases the interviewee preferred to respond to the interview questions via email. All the participants had prior knowledge of the Passivhaus standard. However, the sample group will be selected so that not all participants are necessarily in favour of progressing the standard, which will give a 50
Methodology balanced view to the argument. A sample size of 20 was used. The limitations of a small sample size need to be recognized. However, the professionals contacted were carefully selected and answers were diverse. The research aimed for a high quality of response and therefore people were chosen based on their knowledge of the issues surrounding the Passivhaus standard, including people with direct experience of building to the standard on a larger scale, supplying PH products or have influence on policy and legislation. Because of the diversity of the participants and their different roles in the supply chain, quantitative data gathered by way of questionnaires would be inappropriate for this study based on the research scope and time frame. The case studies analysed projects in the UK that have been recently completed and which have achieved Passivhaus certification. The projects range from those exhibiting best practice in terms of using local supply chains to those which, for various reasons, could not. In some instances little information was available on the project therefore, members of the team responsible for the project were contacted. The number of case studies available was limited as there are very few Passivhaus projects completed to this date other than one off private residential schemes. The projects studied represent a sample of these and have been constructed in various parts of the UK, using different construction methods, design teams and supply chains. The three case studies are the Larch and Lime House, the Wimbish Development and Sampson Close (See figure 13). An open and honest approach has been taken for this research. The opinion of the interviewees has been presented in an impartial manner with no attempt at bias towards a particular viewpoint. The researcher has no invested interest in presenting a particular viewpoint for personal gain or gain of the research institution. Interview prompts were planned before hand with a view to ensure the interviewee understood the question and their responses were as relevant as possible. This was important as some of the questions were fairly open ended and in some instances more clarity was required. The prompts were designed not to encourage a certain response but more to help facilitate the interviewee to give a meaningful response based on their own experience. Interviews were undertaken after gaining acceptance from the WSA ethics approval committee. A record of 51
Methodology all the interview transcripts has been kept along with the voice recordings. Partial verbatim transcripts can be found in Appendices A and B, which include the research questions and any prompts used and only the most relevant information has been included. The method of analysis uses a thematic approach and integrates responses from the interviews with information gathered from case studies and additional literature. This method is proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006, cited in King & Horrocks 2010), whereby extracts from the interviews are embedded within an analytical narrative that illustrates the story relating to the research question and goes beyond a description of the data.
Figure 19: Research method outline. (Modified after: Bryman, 2008 pg. 370).
Findings & Analysis
Findings and analysis
The data analysis is conducted using a thematic analysis approach. The data contained in Appendices A and B has been analysed by reference to the key themes which relate to the thesis research questions. The key themes identified are:
The role and importance of the UK supply chain (includes case study 1: Larch and Lime House).
Missing out on a growth market.
The effect of changing the construction methods and supply chain (includes Case Study 2: Wimbish development and Case study 3: Sampson Close).
Innovating the UK supply chain.
Generating market demand in Passivhaus.
Learning from other European countries.
Barriers and enablers in Austria and Belgium.
4.1 The role and importance of the UK supply chain The responses from the interviewees suggest that a UK supply chain capable of delivering the products and construction skills is vital in delivering the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale. It appears that people believe that there is a need for better performing products, but issues with cost and lack of experience must be considered. One interviewee stated the importance of these products and systems being available in the UK, but also states that costs are a major factor and UK must be able to be cost competitive “There is always a market for better performing products produced in the UK. However, costs must always be considered… When procuring a project in the UK, it is has been difficult to find products and systems which meet the required Passivhaus performance criteria.” [Specialist in Passivhaus project management]. Others also commented that local supply chains would make the process of delivering Passivhaus easier and
Findings & Analysis with a better guarantee for replacement products and maintenance: “The UK would definitely benefit, Importing products often adds cost and it’s difficult to then source replacement parts” [Project manager & client’s agent] and another commented: “A very good reason for going with UK products is that replacement
products can be easily sourced, which isn’t the case when importing from abroad. This takes out an element of risk.” [Specialist in Passivhaus project management]. Although there may be a potential benefit to the UK economy, the current supply chain of construction products relies on an expanded product pool throughout Europe and issues relating to embodied energy were raised, which highlighted the fact that products sourced from other areas of Europe, will often not result in products with higher levels of embodied carbon (depending on the product destination within the UK). A couple of the interviewees raised this point: “Local supply chains may benefit the UK economy. However, it may be more economical to have a larger supply area such as central Europe. But is the carbon footprint of that lower?” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]. From speaking to a number of suppliers of Passivhaus suitable products a route map concerning the importation of Passivhaus suitable windows was produced outlining values for the embodied energy of the various methods of importation (see figure 20 in conjunction with table 3). The GBS are the major UK importer of Passivhaus windows and will therefore represent a large part of the UK market. Figure 20 and table 3 show a comparison between the embodied energy required for importing products from different areas of Europe, using London as the destination import location. The information is representative of the frames and the windows and does not include the raw materials or the glazing. However, if the raw materials were factored in, the UK frames would have much higher embodied energy by sourcing the timber from New Zealand. The other European frames source their timber from a variety of locations around Northern Europe (Butcher, 2012). The example in figure 20 shows the embodied energy of the German windows is less than those produced in Wales (when distributing to London). The cheapest frames are sourced from Lithuania but this is due to the reduced cost of labour in that country. If costs and embodied energy are taken into account Germany would be the preferred source destination. However, the production of windows in the UK has other benefits including the potential to add economic benefit 54
Findings & Analysis through job creation and the possibility of an improved service and replacement system. Thomas joinery and GBS are currently undergoing R&D into the manufacture of outward opening windows for the UK market, to complement their range of tilt and turn models. UK distributer
GBS GBS GBS GBS CP joinery Thomas Joinery
Manufacturing Approximate Travel distance Embodied energy country cost (to London) Lithuania Poland Germany Austria UK UK
(ÂŁ/m2) 400 500 650 650 860 Unknown
(km) 3690 2550 900 1930 340 1630
(tonnes of CO2e / tonne) 0.39 0.27 0.10 0.21 0.04 0.17
Table 3: Embodied energy relating to the travel distances of different Passivhaus suitable windows (not including raw materials transport). Costing was obtained from the distributers. Embodied energy relates to travel distances only and was calculated in accordance with The Environment Agencies Carbon Calculator (2007). Travel distances were calculated based on transport primarily by road, using The AA Route Planner (2012).
Figure 20: Map of Europe showing the import patterns of timber Passivhaus suitable windows and timber frame laminates.
Findings & Analysis The market for Passivhaus products and systems is more developed in other parts of Europe. Interviewees were asked about the benefit to be gained if the UK could produce cost effective products compared with the European market, an interviewee stated: It will take both [European and UK supply chain]. You get cheaper labour in Eastern Europe, however, you get cheaper snagging costs from a UK manufacturer, so if there are any issues, for example with windows that are the wrong size or the glass breaks these can be easily sorted out. We will be relying on an expanded European market, but we will have more specialised UK manufacturers. [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
This comes down to the same rules that govern any sort of trade. Table 3 shows that Lithuania and Poland can produce Passivhaus suitable frames at a cheaper cost than is possible in the UK. This was highlighted by an interviewee and the issue of quality was raised: If the products are being produced in similar level first world countries, the UK should be able to produce the same products, and with a reduced transport cost, should make for cheaper products. If the products are from other European countries with lower wage costs then they will be capable of manufacturing products cheaper. However, these may not be to the same quality. [Architect & Policy Advisor]
Quality is certainly an issue and so too is the level of experience of production. The German and Austrian markets manage to have reduced costs, maintain high quality and have similar embodied energy values to those of the UK (when distributing to London). An interviewee illustrates the point that it doesnâ€™t just come down to labour costs: I do not think it will come down to cheaper labour costs, but actually about how the supply chain is geared up to deliver the quantity required. Most of these products will be delivered from the EU where production costs are similar, but experience of delivering the products is more advanced than the UK. [Policy Advisor]
Findings & Analysis The UK market for Passivhaus products and systems is still very young. An interviewee highlights this issue: “Until the market grows in the UK, projects will be procured on lower costing products.” [Environmental Design Consultant].
As the market grows so should the product-pool which may bring down costs: “Products can be made more cost effective if enough companies produce them in the UK and having an increased product-pool will drive down costs. This product-pool of Passivhaus products is increasing year on year.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent].
A project which aimed to address not only the issues of local supply chains but also regional supply chains capable of delivering Passivhaus certified homes in the UK was the Larch and Lime Passivhauses in Wales.
Case Study 1: Larch and Lime house These two detached dwellings were built in Ebbw Vale, Wales, as part of a Passivhaus Design Competition run by the United Welsh Housing Association, BRE (Wales), Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and the Welsh Government. The project aimed to demonstrate how designing and building to the Passivhaus standard can help meet tough modern energy requirements and keep CO2 to a minimum. It was hoped that the lessons learned will help ensure the success of larger-scale social housing developments in the future. One of the requirements was to maximise the use of locally sourced materials, products and skills which result in the development of a skilled and experienced regional supply chain able to work on other Passivhaus projects (Constructing Excellence Wales, n.d). The competition was won by Bere Architects. At the time of construction the Larch House was the UK’s first zero carbon (CFSH Level 6) certified Passivhaus. Learning from the development of the Larch house, The Lime house aimed to go further to promote the local use of materials, improving delivery and maintenance issues and identifying cost savings. The exemplar projects aimed to be prototypes by which lessons could be
Findings & Analysis learned and the ideas and knowledge taken forward to larger social housing schemes, stimulating Welsh low carbon industries at the same time (Design Commission for Wales, 2012). The Supply Chain At the time of the design competition there was a reported dearth of local skills able to deliver the Passivhaus standard with no local Passivhaus products available (Constructing Excellence Wales, n.d). Nick Tune, Director of BRE, stated: We wanted to develop a range of Welsh-made construction materials and products that could meet the high sustainability criteria now essential in developing a low carbon built environment…Most of the homes meeting high levels of sustainability in the UK use a primarily international supply chain. If we can use our own products and materials, we are creating local growth through the construction supply chain and this is key to the future economy of Wales (Building4Change, 2011). Both the Larch and Lime houses incorporated timber frames made from locally grown timber manufactured by Holbrook Timber Frame Ltd. The researcher deemed it necessary to gather further information about the process of producing timber frames to the specification of Passivhaus and the challenges faced. It was found that quality can sometimes be an issue when using Welsh timber and even though large quantities are available there is no appetite from the saw mills to use it: “We have large quantities but strangely it’s not as easy to source UK timber as it is to source Scandinavian timber.”[Holbrook Timber]. One of the major challenges was up-skilling on site, although up-skilling in the factory is not as such an issue when using timber frames. Collaboration between architect/producer was cited as being a key factor: “The process required a lot of collaborative design detailing between architect and us. In general designing to the Passivhaus standard requires a much more collaborative process than a standard building. This is not a typical way of working in the UK.” [Holbrook Timber].
Findings & Analysis Education is clearly an issue when building to the Passivhaus standard. This initial collaboration and consultancy between the different members of the design team and supply chain is likely to be where a lot of extra time and money is invested in these exemplar projects. The windows are a critical component of achieving the Passivhaus standard (See Section 2.2.5 for technical details). The windows in the Larch house were imported from a German manufacturer, whereas the Lime house windows were produced in Wales. The Welsh Passivhaus windows were designed and manufactured through the VPWP, which was formed through Woodknowledge Wales. The consortium of Welsh businesses worked in partnership to design and construct the triple glazed, Passivhaus certified windows, which used Welsh larch for the frames. Figure 21 shows a section diagram through the window with the required thermal break in light green.
Figure 21: PHI certificate of the VPWP window (VPWP, 2012).
Findings & Analysis Since producing the window the joiners have produced further Passivhaus windows aimed at the wider UK and European market using accoya timber sourced from New Zealand. A representative of Thomas Joinery identified the issues of producing Passivhaus windows in the UK, stating that sourcing the materials cost effectively is a major issue: Sourcing the materials competitively is the hardest part. It’s very hard to use local timber in the UK and source in volume. You need the timber to be laminated [thermal break within frame] which can only be sourced from Europe. This is a big problem in the supply chain which has a knock on to costs and makes it hard to compete with north and north east Europe as they can source the laminates easier than we can in the UK. The current source of timber laminates has the monopoly on the market. Laminating can be done in-house but this would prove expensive due to high labour costs. Both Thomas Joinery and CP Joinery also laminate in-house using accoya timber but this proves very costly (see table 3). Other issues include the additional shipping costs of importing the laminates to the UK and cost perception, as stated: “When people buy in the UK they would expect a cheaper product than if they were importing because they don’t have to ship it in.” [Thomas Joinery]. This demonstrates that although the Lime house demonstrated best practice by sourcing regional materials for the windows, to make this work on a larger scale and remain cost effective would require importing products to drive down costs. However, manufacturing the windows in the UK will still enable a boost to the local economy and help to advance the supply chain of Passivhaus products. Cost is obviously the key issue: “To reduce manufacturing costs and be cost-competitive against similar Passivhaus imported windows and doors, investment and funding are needed. This has not yet been forthcoming.” (Bere Architects, n.d).
Findings & Analysis
Missing out on a growth market
A potential danger that the UK might face is that it misses out on a potential growth market in Passivhaus products and methods of construction (e.g. MMC), which may benefit to the UK economy and construction industry as highlighted in Section 4.1. The interviewees do not appear to regard building timber frames to the airtightness of the Passivhaus standard as a problem for the UK: “The timber frame manufacturers in this country are beginning to catch up with other European countries. Systems are much better now than they were a couple of years ago.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]. More of an issue is the products and the re-education required,
as one interviewee stated: “If there is one thing we can produce cheaply in the UK its timber frames, and undercutting foreign frames will be easy when the market is there. It is very different for windows, doors etc. However, the main thing is the education of the people who design and build.” [Environmental Design Consultant].
The interviewees often refer to education being very important in ensuring this market is not missed, with R&D required to innovate the products to achieve the required standards. It may be the case that some of the capacity to produce these products has been lost. As one interviewee stated: “The UK can’t do it all in a global market. Maybe look to have German manufacturers set up in the UK. It’s likely though that most of this market capability has been lost. The UK seems very bad at transferring R&D into the market place to take advantage of it.” [Construction Skills Director].
Findings & Analysis
4.3 The effect of changing the construction methods and supply chain As stated during the literature review (Section 2.2), building to the Passivhaus standard requires a much more rigorous process with a focus on airtightness. If the Passivhaus standard were to be adopted on a larger scale, how would this affect the UK construction industry and what sort of innovation in the supply chain - from the products to the construction processes - must occur for it to happen. Timber frame techniques are often said to be more favourable for Passivhaus, with more examples of certified projects, but this is not the typical way of constructing in the UK. Would a shift to timber frame and Passivhaus potentially cause SMEs to suffer and result in a supply chain incapable of delivery? Two case studies show how the Passivhaus standard has been achieved on a larger scale.
Case study 2: Wimbish development The rural social housing scheme at Wimbish, Essex, consists of 14 dwellings, 3 of which are shared ownership, built by Hastoe Housing Association. The scheme also met the CFSH level 4 and won the Passivhaus Trust’s national award for best domestic residential scheme in 2012. The construction method used was thin joint masonry with externally applied insulation. The client wanted a build system which would be economical, meet the performance requirements and reflect their preference for using local materials and labour. The thin joint masonry technique had previously been employed on other schemes meeting the CFSH level 4 (Passivhaus Trust (b), 2012). A member of the team involved in delivering the scheme was contacted to gain further information about the project and the challenges that were faced during delivery. The Passivhaus windows proved to be very expensive and issues occurred with obtaining replacements, which wouldn’t necessarily be the case when using a local suppliers, as stated by the interviewee: “We imported the windows from Austria with additional costs around 30% compared to standard windows, in part due to the specification but also due to the need to import…Problems occurred when replacements were required. This was a lengthy process and in 63
Findings & Analysis some cases they are still not replaced. The interviewee stated that thin joint masonry was chosen as a construction technique instead of a timber panel (MMC) system: “We also wanted to achieve CSFH level 4 so it was important to use local suppliers. That is one reason we didn’t use a timber panel system which would have required importation…Thin joint masonry meant that local labour and skills could be used”. The interviewee went on to highlight the challenges of using this technique: Thin joint masonry is a slower process than using timber panels, therefore costs can be higher. However, currently high specification timber panel systems are expensive when imported from abroad…We had a few problems with the thin join masonry with cracking and issues with airtightness…Significant education was required throughout the workforce to ensure the airtightness target could be met. Initially the sub-contractor had very little knowledge about the airtight membranes and subsequently weren’t installed with enough care and attention to detail at first. From the interview it became clear how important education of the workforce is in the process, especially when trialling a new construction method which hasn’t been widely used to construct to the Passivhaus standard before: “It took a few months before the contractor realised that re-education was required, thereafter, toolbox talks began on site between the contractor and the sub-contractors. On the next project these toolbox talks occurred from day one.” This same team are now moving on to develop another Passivhaus scheme using a more traditional cavity wall construction. Although not the same construction type, methods of knowledge transfer through the supply chain should improve the process and help to reduce costs. The importance of knowledge transfer in the supply chain was highlighted by Agapiou (1998) (Section 2.3).
Findings & Analysis
Case study 3: Sampson Close This social housing project in Coventry consists of 23 Units (18 flats and 5 houses). The scheme was commissioned by Orbit Homes and constructed using timber frame MMC techniques, with the main frame, insulation, doors and windows being constructed in panels off site in Germany and shipped over the UK. The MVHR units were Austrian Passivhaus certified supplied by the GBS and windows imported from Austria and pre-installed in the MMC frames in Germany. A member of the team involved in delivering the scheme was contacted to gain further information about the project and the challenges that were faced during delivery, they stated: “When procuring Sampson Close we struggled to find products and systems to meet the performance requirements from UK companies, although, the market is improving all the time.” This project highlights the UK’s inexperience of building to the Passivhaus standard with project teams being put off using UK companies due to a lack of experience, which would increase the risk factor of the project. The interviewee stated: At the time of procurement it was felt that it would be too much of a risk to the client to use a UK company. Most of what the UK manufacturers showed us was theoretical and they didn’t have the experience…It was important for this first Passivhaus scheme to go with a frame that we knew would work from a company that has experience and could ensure the Passivhaus quality standard could be achieved. It was hoped that this project could be used as a platform for learning, enabling future projects to use local supply chains, as stated: “The idea was that this then acts as a learning curve to understand the process of building to Passivhaus, enabling us to move forward to establish and use local supply chains for future projects.” It would be a lot to expect for a private company to educate a local supply chain without any investment, as was the case with the Larch and Lime project where Government funding was provided. Without
Findings & Analysis investment this sort of additional cost is unlikely to be accepted in the client’s budget in the public or private markets. Both case studies demonstrate the difficulties of achieving the Passivhaus standard in the UK with the current supply chain. Alternative methods of construction have been favoured over traditional masonry cavity wall in order to ensure the airtightness required for Passivhaus, due to the element of risk involved in not achieving Passivhaus certification. This is due to the techniques and the standard of build quality required for Passivhaus being in their infancy in the UK. Many of the interviewees felt that contractors are pricing high because of the lack of experience in building to Passivhaus. One interviewee stated: “Inexperience usually costs more than just money; time lost, incorrectly installed equipment can be costly. But premiums are charged for using unfamiliar technology and systems.” [Supply Chain Manager].
With these alternative techniques seeming to favour building to Passivhaus, is there a danger that smaller builders might struggle with the additional rigour and the changing construction methods? The interviewees responded on this subject that short term, Passivhaus may present more of an opportunity for SME’s to specialise within the supply chain, as stated: “There are opportunities for both SMEs and larger contractors. Because of the need for care, attention to detail required when designing to Passivhaus it’s probably a bigger opportunity for smaller builders if they are properly educated”. [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products].
It was also stated by a few of the interviewees that the mass housebuilders are a long way off and would struggle with Passivhaus. Smaller scale builders and contractors may find it easier to innovate and specialise: “The smaller contractors often have smaller gangs of subcontractors which can aid in promoting the transfer of skills and knowledge.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] and “In some instances smaller companies are more open to innovation and can exercise greater quality control.” [Technical Architectural Director]. This was also mentioned by Clarke (2006) (Section 2.2.10).
The biggest problems are likely to come from the very large management led contractors, which have no inhouse workforce and therefore have a large chain of subcontractors, “These types of systems will fail and 66
Findings & Analysis are failing. The private house builders will always be last on the uptake.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products].
Another interviewee voiced concerns over the rigour of Passivhaus: If the Passivhaus standard was implemented the small scale builders may not be able to handle the rigour of the standard and not be able to tool up to the added costs. Small scale builders are already struggling in parts of the UK and additional costs may mean they are lost to the system. This might mean builders walk away if they can’t reach the standard and then the UK would have a supply and demand issue. [Construction Skills Director] If, however, the industry is to advance, companies must be competitive in a changing market and not be resistant to change. This issue gained a mix of responses and it appears that in the short term, SMEs may benefit if they can educate themselves and specialise in the market. However, if the Passivhaus standard was to be legislated too early there are concerns that SME’s may struggle at first, as stated: “It might be a challenge for small scale builders at first. However, the industry learns and catches up quickly…When the CFSH was introduced, the first 6 months required a lot on consultation, but after a few mistakes everyone begins to understand what they need to do.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
4.4 Innovating the UK supply chain This section looks at what is being done to innovate the supply chain to be able to build to Passivhaus and higher levels of energy efficiency, and whether this innovation would generate increased demand for low energy housing. Interviewees were asked if at any point in the supply chain there are incentives to encourage local supply chain development. The unanimous response was that nothing is currently being done. With regard to investment it appears product manufacturers find it hard to secure any investment, as stated: “We struggle for our windows to get any investment for our manufacturing base in the UK from lenders. Window manufacture seems to have gone abroad, unless it’s plastic.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products].
Findings & Analysis For the wider construction industry nothing is done by Government, as stated: “Very little and certainly not by Government. There are large contractors in the UK who do not trust supply chains and will hawk contracts around just to get the cheapest price.” [Technical Architectural Director]. There appears to be some help and information out there offering guidance to the supply chain but no direct investment. One interviewee stated, “The Government has many bodies aimed at encouraging low energy projects but the delivery along the supply chains remains patchy. This is because the traditionally conservative construction industry is slow to respond and there are many new technologies to undertake and master.” [Supply Chain Manager]. There is a general agreement that funding is required in this area, as stated: “Government investment will always be positive to encourage local supply chains. Local supply chains could form part of the tender process in the future, by using a points scoring system whereby if local supply chains are used you get a higher score.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent]. However, it would seem unlikely that any investment will be forthcoming. Several interviewees stated that a major reason for this appears to be due to EU procurement laws and the fact that local supply chains are in conflict with global economics. One stated: “Government help would be beneficial, but it always runs the risk of being classified as state aid. Under EU procurement rules any such assistance has to be carefully instigated.” [Policy Advisor]. Demand does not tend to be stimulated by innovation in the supply chain. The demand is stimulated via regulation and the supply chain is then forced to catch up, with little or no help. This could be a reason why progress appears so slow in the UK market. This was stated by a number of interviewees and one said: Standard practice by Government is not to invest in the supply chain but to increase standards using the Building Regulations, and CFSH for housing associations. This forces the supply chains to catch up. It’s not pushed at the supplier end. The supply chains must supply the demand that is created in the market. [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
Findings & Analysis If direct innovation through the supply chain will only come some from increased demand this leads to the question of where the drivers come from to stimulate this demand.
4.5 Generating market demand in Passivhaus The issue of supply and demand would appear critical in delivering the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale. One interviewee stated: “Until people can see that the market is going towards Passivhaus people won’t set up. The UK definitely lacks a clear market signal.” [Passivhaus Window Manufacturer]. This was expressed by many of the interviewees and these thoughts were summed up by a statement indicating that the UK has all the required skills but lacks direction: “The UK has the skills in manufacturing and construction to deliver the standard. The market will be flooded when a clear market signal is given.” [Academic & Passivhaus Consultant]. The lack of a clear market signal was a common response among
interviewees. A professional who sits on the Building Regulations advisory board in Wales made this statement: “It comes down to supply and demand, but I don’t believe that the Passivhaus standard will become the norm in the UK and most of the major house builders are very anti the standard, as it is too complicated and requires too much on site control to deliver the standard.” [Policy Advisor] This statement was echoed by another person involved in policy advice. There is demonstrable growth in the standard over the last few years in the UK, however, the people that have an influence on policy seem doubtful over the prospect of larger scale growth in the Passivhaus standard. However, as mentioned in the Introduction (Section 1), these issues do not just relate to the Passivhaus standard (which has been taken as the low energy housing precedent), but also consider the innovation and delivery of low energy housing through the supply chain. The interviewees felt that the UK lacks a clear market signal and clarity in the legislation. If the industry cannot predict future demand it will be too risky to invest in R&D and education to deliver a product which may not have a market once developed. This lack of clarity seems to be a major cause for a dearth of innovation in the UK supply chain. An interviewee summed up some of the key issues: 69
Findings & Analysis There must be a clear path on where the industry is going. This would allow people to plan and build businesses to respond to the future. Currently ‘Allowable Solutions’ confuse everything. It would too risky as aspirations towards zero carbon are always changing. Therefore no innovation in products in the UK until clear legislation is there…The problem is that house builders make excellent profits and increasing the standards threatens to take away this profitability. [Environmental Design Consultant] The issue of confusing targets and allowable solutions was highlighted in Section 2.2.7 as a potential issue. If the system was simplified and made clear a suitable route to the long term objectives could be established, which would then allow for R&D and innovation for those companies wanting to be at the forefront of very low energy housing labels such as Passivhaus. Another interviewee expressed this point as “The industry and the supply chains don’t trust what the Government says so they don’t want to put money into R&D […] There is a real reticence in the supply chain to commit to R&D until the Government comes up with a clear time frame.” [Architect & Policy Advisor] The interviewees views correspond to those found in the study by Osmani & O’Reilly (2009) (Section 2.2.7) with most people feeling legislation is a major driver One interviewee stated: Legislation is obviously the key driver and will create an instant demand but this will not happen in the UK. There is a fad of Passivhaus being fashionable at the moment but the standards embedded in the Welsh consultation document for the changes proposed for the 2013 Building Regulations mean that even if you built a Passivhaus you still wouldn’t achieve Building Regulation compliance in Wales. [Architect & Policy Advisor].
Throughout the process cost and profit are always a critical concern, as indicated by Adeyeye et al (2007) (Section 2.27). Costs are influenced by the level of skills and knowledge available which is partly down to the educational system in place to support this transfer of knowledge in the industry. An interviewee highlighted issues related to a lack of public interest in Passivhaus:
Findings & Analysis A key issue is that larger scale house builders are out to make money. Therefore, they will only build houses to Passivhaus if they have to, or, if people are willing to pay more money for them. I don’t think house buyers are interested or willing to pay more money at the moment…People might become more interested when energy becomes even more expensive. People will then demand more energy efficient homes but I’m not sure when this tipping point will be. At the moment there is no driver by the consumers. [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management] It is unlikely that Passivhaus will form part of legislation in the foreseeable future, therefore, other market forces produced via the consumer are the only options for increasing the demand, as stated: Market forces are also important. The housing associations and housebuilders will have to respond to the pubic wanting a Passivhaus and people being able to differentiate between a Passivhaus and a non Passivhaus by paying more for a Passivhaus or less for a non-Passivhaus. There would have to be demonstrable benefits that you could prove and these would need to be spelled out to the general public. [Architect & Policy Advisor] These alternative market forces may come from education and through this education a cultural shift in what the general public want and expect from a house. This relies on the successful POE from the current Passivhaus schemes. One interviewee makes this point and identifies the power of mass media in persuading the general public: “Once the customer realises that the buildings are more comfortable to inhabit, the value will go up and the value of uncomfortable housing will go down…It could be a case that one documentary produced at the right time by someone famous will drive it.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products] This will require the Passivhaus to be substantially better performing and
warrant the additional costs. These comments reflect the need for the education of the general public, who must demand a Passivhaus over other house types due to the perceived benefits in comfort and reduced energy bills. However, currently in the UK there isn’t the body of evidence to prove this to the public or the industry. Education
Findings & Analysis right through the supply chain is vital, but demand is essential: “Demand must be created through legislation and value, and through education of the supply chain, which will only happen through experience. However, this is a looped cycle because education will only take place when the demand is there.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] The question of how this demand can be created is critical as it has been identified that innovation in the supply chain in the UK will happen through increased demand. The interviewees came up with a range of responses on measures to increase demand:
Increase the value of Passivhaus housing by the value reflected in the level of comfort achieved in a house - Comes through POE results showing UK examples of increased comfort and then through education of the general public.
Increased value through reduced energy bills – Comes from increased energy prices, and through building performance evaluation (BPE) and POE showing UK examples of reduced energy use and then through education of the general public. This integration of sustainability factors into property valuations was identified in the literature review by Lutzendorf and Lorenz (2007).
Committee or task force outlining a proposed market route. Made up of members who have a reduced level of influence from the housebuilding industry and NHBC.
A clear and well defined route towards ‘zero carbon’ and the goals of the EPBD, with a clear definition of ‘allowable solutions’. Potentially this could allow the industry to invest in R&D allowing innovators in the industry a reduced level of risk.
Promote a culture of self-build with schemes selling land to individuals.
Funding into the supply chain for low energy products (although unlikely due to EU procurement laws).
The industry as a whole would need a step change in the way it does business, from colleges and universities to the building profession would need to learn and promote the standard, and demonstrate that it can be achieved on a repeat basis and at an affordable price.
Increase funding to Local authorities for social housing projects.
Findings & Analysis
The last point on the list refers to a way the UK Government prepares the supply chain for future energy standards by setting stricter targets for social/affordable housing. However, it would appear that the funding available for these schemes has been reduced in recent years resulting in social landlords acquiring funding in other ways, meaning that advanced standards (CFSH level 3 – which equates to an estimated 8% CO2 reduction compared to Part L 2010 (Welsh Government, 2012)) have not necessarily been met as hoped. It would appear that this mechanism is an excellent way for the Government to prepare the supply chain for improved energy efficiency in housing and for future legislation, but not enough is being done to fund or enforce this. One interviewee who works on social housing schemes said: “Funding has been reduced for social housing schemes and if the Government doesn’t have the mechanism of advanced standards in social housing to prep the supply chain, this could have a detrimental effect on how the supply chain develops and the industry moves forward.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
Learning from other European countries
Learning from other countries on how they prompted innovation in their supply chains to deliver the Passivhaus standard and other low energy housing models could be adopted as part of the UK strategy to increase demand and drive innovation. The interviewees felt learning from other countries would be a positive step but many felt sceptical about the possibility of change occurring in the UK system: “In Austria for example the Government provides mortgage reductions if you build to Passivhaus. Therefore, there is an incentive there for people. This sort of incentivisation stimulates a clear market signal.” [Academic and Passivhaus Consultant].
Local authorities have greater influence and power in making their own legislation in other parts of Europe. This is not the case in the UK and there may be political opposition to such change. However, the ideas are worth exploring. One interviewee voiced their thoughts on the present Government and examples of local
Findings & Analysis authorities that have driven change in their housing market: “They [the Government] tend to be reactive and wait until it’s too late. Local authorities are the ones who could help and should go and see how it’s done in Europe, eg. Frankfurt, Hannover, Brussels etc.” [Technical Architectural Director]. Potential problems lie in the way policy in the UK is developed and the way our economy is run. If policy is heavily influenced by groups that stand against industry change, this will result in an industry sluggish to innovate. The issues lie deep within how the industry is run and which organisations have the greatest influence. A number of interviewees made reference to the capitalist economic structure, with the free market economy in the UK preventing Government influencing local authorities, as stated: We have a free market economy in this country where the market economy is everything. Until we have a change in society where Government becomes involved in the industry nothing will change. Maybe put more power in the hands of local authorities. However, the industry is run by big organisations that would override any regional policies. [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
It was acknowledged that many countries have had stricter energy efficiency standards for a long time, giving their supply chains time to prepare. It was pointed out that this is because they have had a clear route to follow which has allowed R&D and investment throughout the supply chain, something the UK lacks, as stated: Germany has had higher performance requirements for quite some time. The risk for the UK is that we are coming from a low base and we are trying to run to a very high level. Germany have done all this over a planned timeframe which have allowed their supply chains to develop, this allows companies to plan and develop the supply chains and undertake R&D because they have certainty in each step. [Architect & Policy Advisor]
Findings & Analysis
4.7 Barriers and enablers in Austria & Belgium The research has identified a need for further research into how the UK could advance its energy standards through methods to stimulate demand. There appears to be a general feeling of frustration in the UK about advancing the energy standards. The lack of clarity in the legislation and the market seems to be the major factor in preventing the innovation in the supply chain. If the UK is unable to innovate the supply chain through new legislation and market forces, the question is; how was this achieved in other countries? Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France all provide a framework for grants, cheaper loans and tax reduction and associated quality control procedures (Mlecnik et al. 2010). None of these market stimulants exist in the UK. Two countries in particular that have advanced the popularity of the Passivhaus standard are Austria and Belgium (see figure 22). Austria proved to be the fastest adopter and has over 1,000,000 m2 surface area of Passivhauses (Barta et al. 2009, cited in Mlecnik et al. 2010).
Figure 22: Shows how the Passivhaus standard has advanced in 10 countries participating in the PASS-NET project (Intelligent Energy Europe, 2012).
A scheme was set up in May 2012 called â€˜PassREgâ€™. PassREg will look at front runner regions such as Hannover, Brussels and Tyrol, with the hope that the strategies and mechanisms put in place in these regions will be adapted and then implemented by aspiring regions wanting to increase demand in the 75
Findings & Analysis Passivhaus standard to facilitate the implementation of the EU’s 2010 EPBD (Intelligent Energy Europe 2012). The BRE have signed up as a project partner in the scheme along with many other European countries (see figure 23).
Figure 23: Countries participating in the PassReg project (PHI (d), 2012)
Two interviews were conducted with European experts in the industry. Interviewees were selected based on their background in the Industry and knowledge of the issues. In some instances when transcribing the interviews the language has been modified to aid the readers understanding, however, care was taken to not alter the meaning or context. Both experts are supporters of the Passivhaus as a route to low energy housing. Appendix B shows the partial verbatim transcripts for these interviews. The questions relate to how the popularity of the Passivhaus standard was advanced in their country, the methods that helped innovate the supply chains and how the building standards were raised. The information aimed at presenting some suitable drivers which could be employed in the UK to drive the industry forward and to innovate the UK supply chain. This should help to answer the third research question (Section 1). The CEPHEUS projects appeared to be influential in both countries. It was because of these projects, which showed demonstrable benefits of Passivhaus which formed the initial driver, as stated: “The CEPHEUS projects spread the knowledge to all the provinces in Austria…Once the CEPHEUS projects were completed
Findings & Analysis and results came through the market demand was stimulated.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Voralberg, Austria]. From this the Government set up incentive schemes in both countries. This first step is a
missing link in the UK at present. Although these projects provide demonstrable evidence of success in other countries no such projects exist in the UK with such a level of transparent POE. The stage after this was described as: Lobbying groups were set up in Vorarlberg province and these groups then spread across Austria… Incentive schemes were set up. The higher the energy standard of the house/flat the more support you receive. The maximum amount of money, step 5, was the Passivhaus standard or equivalent…Tried to get more interest in self-owned housing and flats. This gained public support and developers found people then wanted to go beyond the normal standards. [Austria] A similar incentive approach was adopted in Belgium. In 2007 the Government launched incentives…A Grant of up to 100 €/m2 if you achieve the Passivhaus standard was made available for everyone. They wanted to know if incentivising in this way would create a reaction in the industry. People didn’t care about Passivhaus or CO2, they only wanted the grant to save money. This made the cost price of Passivhaus drop dramatically especially in larger housing. [Architect, Director Plate-forme Maison Passive (PMP), Brussels, Belgium] It would appear that the incentive schemes worked to help promote the standard and in the early stages made it more cost competitive in the market place. With increased demand in the Passivhaus standard this created a shift in the building culture and forced the supply chain to innovate and advance to ensure the new market demand could be filled. Both interviewees found that this new demand then brought about innovation in the local supply chain, as stated: “Architects who produced the first Passivhaus project in Austria produced their own wooden Passivhaus window. The demand for Passivhaus spurred on this innovation.” [Austria]. In Belgium most of the products originally came from Austria and Germany but now they are being produced more cost effectively locally, as stated:
Findings & Analysis Nothing but stimulating the market has created a growth in the local market of Passivhaus products. In the beginning the products mostly came from Austria and some from Germany. Now more than 50% are made in Belgium and triple glazing is not a special product anymore. Austrian and German frames have become cheaper to match the market in Belgium. Belgium products have been created in response to market stimulation. [Belgium] A potential problem in the UK appears to be the reliance on masonry cavity wall as a construction technique employed by many housebuilders, and it was the author’s perception that Germany and Austria rely more heavily on timber frame making a transition to Passivhaus easier. In both countries it appears that various provinces tend to favour different techniques and Passivhaus has been constructed using a range of construction types, as stated: “Depends on the province and the developer…A lot of timber but also all other types. Using cavity wall is very difficult to achieve with Passivhaus. Joining the two skins of brick is therefore a problem…Passivhaus has been adapted to the typical types of construction.” [Austria]. This highlights a potential problem with cavity wall construction being used for Passivhaus, although successful examples do exist in the UK. In Belgium the Passivhaus standard has also been adopted into local techniques: “All types of construction are used. Mostly for housing using brickwork with plastering directly on bricks which helps with airtightness. Building to the Passivhaus standard was integrated into local techniques.” [Belgium]. This presents an issue for the UK, requiring either a shift away from cavity masonry or the successful implementation of the Passivhaus standard with this construction type. If the Passivhaus standard has a chance of substantial growth it must be repeatedly demonstrated using the most typical construction techniques in the UK. The author was interested in how this demand was stimulated in the respective countries and whether innovations in the supply chain, changes in culture, or advances in legislation proved to be the main drivers. Change is inherently difficult to achieve in any country as mentioned by the Austrian respondent: “In all countries it is difficult to get the higher standards because the building industry knows they will have to work harder and earn less money at first whilst they are on the learning curve.” [Austria] This is central to
Findings & Analysis the problem in the UK, perhaps more so in England than Wales because of the way the advisory bodies are funded. It was mentioned that in Austria the regional Governments have more control over the industry: “Local Governments in Austria have much more power [9 Federal Governments]. They can set their own targets which effectively stimulates competition. Other Governments then follow and push each other.” [Austria]. This would also relate to a cultural shift whereby advancing low energy building standards is seen
as a very positive step which might foster competition between regions. Belgium used a series of grants and incentives and have now set a long term plan to integrate the Belgium Passivhaus standard into legislation: Implemented the law in 2011 [Brussels legislation – all new builds and retro fits built using the Belgium Passivhaus standard as of 2015 (IPHA (c), n.d)]. Initially the other political parties were against it. They wanted to know if the market could handle the changes, they wanted to see impact studies, is it possible? The party leader showed them the results of the grant scheme from 2007 and showed how the market reacted and this was satisfactory. [Belgium] Both interviewees agreed that it is vital to have demonstration projects built all over the country using a range of construction techniques, as stated by both interviewees: “Make building to the Passivhaus standard as similar to traditional techniques as possible. Working with the contractors to achieve this was the single biggest factor in stimulating.” [Belgium] “The best way would be to have demonstration projects all over the country in different construction methods, developed by highly skilled Architects, designers and craftsmen so that the buildings work very well.” [Austria] This was demonstrated in the Wimbish development (Case study 2), where efforts were made to use a local labour force and techniques that are more common in that region. The responses highlighted a number of actions which have potential to advance uptake of the standard:
Incentive schemes offering financial support if the Passivhaus standard (or equivalent) is achieved. 79
Findings & Analysis
Attempts to get more interest in self-owned housing and flats.
Adopt existing construction styles to the regions with demonstration projects all over the country built using different techniques. De-mystify that it’s not just a German standard which requires MMC and timber frame.
Inspire architects through interesting architectural demonstration projects by famous architects.
Allow regional Governments/authorities to set their own targets.
Provide a free source of advice
Knowledge transfer in each stage of the supply chain – get architects to talk to architects, contractors to contractors etc. Knowledge transfer is more effective when people talk to the people with the same profession.
5 Discussion Local supply chains capable of delivering the Passivhaus standard will be critical to its growth. However, there are issues with producing the products in the UK. It has been demonstrated that producing windows cost effectively is difficult and has resulted in the environmental credentials of the UK windows being compromised by having to import timber from New Zealand. Because of the trade regulations UK manufacturers cannot be seen to have an advantage in the EU market, which will make it increasingly difficult to compete with the established markets of Germany and Austria, where experience and volume can also bring down costs, or the markets of Lithuania and Poland, where cheaper labour can reduce costs. It is felt that the UK manufacturers have the possibility to supply a niche market that wants a very high quality local service which can ensure replacements are quick and easy to source and the service is efficient. However, in the current economic climate projects are being costed on such tight budgets that these issues are not top priority. If embodied energy calculations were considered in the market, and maybe in the future they will, the UK manufacturers have a potential to supply products with very low embodied energy, if a regional supply chain can be established, as was the case in the Lime House (Case study 1). Perhaps Government funding should be offered to local manufacturers, only if they manufacture their products from a purely regional supply chain and demonstrate low embodied energy, which would spur innovation through R&D in products with high environmental credentials. Otherwise the market should rightly be opened up to the whole of Europe. UK Passivhaus window manufacturers might be more competitive if they concentrate on products specific to the UK market, such as outward opening windows and windows for refurbishment projects. In pushing towards the Passivhaus standard and lower energy housing cost is such a critical issue throughout the supply chain. It is difficult to strike a balance between using local products and systems, keep costs down and also consider the embodied energy of the process. These issues were demonstrated in both Case Studies 2 and 3.
Discussion Education is crucial to successfully deliver the Passivhaus standard. This education is required throughout the supply chain. When there is more experience and confidence the costs will begin to reduce. Case studies 2 and 3 both acknowledged that the process was a learning curve which they hope to build on in the future. The Wimbish development (Case study 2) hopes to use the same contractor to ensure lessons learnt with regard to disseminating knowledge can be put into practice on the next Passivhaus scheme, despite the construction type changing from thin joint masonry to cavity wall. In the short term the Passivhaus standard represents opportunities for smaller scale companies to specialise if the demand continues to grow (see figure 13). However, in the current market demand is being stunted and education in the supply chain prevented, from a lack of clarity in the legislation and the future aspirations of the Government, when considering Passivhaus and low energy housing. Without a guaranteed future demand it would appear that innovation in the supply chain in the UK will be slow. The five perceived attributes of an innovation that can help explain the rate of adoption of an innovation are: relative advantage, complexity, trialability, observability and compatibility (Rogers 2003). Relative advantage must be demonstrable through step changes in legislation. The proposed plans for zero carbon housing by 2016 have been continuously changed and the present situation in the UK construction legislation appears to be confusing for the supply chain. The Zero Carbon Hubs proposals in England for allowable solutions appear to create a buyout clause which would indicate that any change to the fabric of new homes will be relatively small based on the proposed FEES. The Passivhaus standard represents a fabric-first approach which should be capable of dramatically reducing the energy consumption of housing and thus reducing the CO2 emissions, without such an emphasis on renewable energy generation. The result of the lack of ambition in the Zero Carbon Hubs proposals leads to a lack in industry innovation within the housebuilding sector in England, which in the long run could result in the UK falling further behind in low energy products and construction skills, possibly leading to a dearth of future skills in these areas. Figure 24 shows how the author perceives the supply and demand process to work with regard to Passivhaus and other low energy housing. The â€˜Keyâ€™ demonstrates the processes starting with market forces, which is dictated by Government initiatives. These Government initiatives and legislation are fed 82
Discussion through a process involving drivers from economics and environmental pressures, and then through filters which form policies relating to the cultural influences of the country. These initiatives then feed the demand through the supply chain. Each step of the supply chain is then influenced by considerations. Depending on whether each consideration is successfully adhered to, will depend on whether the local supply chain will be capable of delivering the process/product. The construction phase of the supply chain must then take into account cost, which will be dependent on the available skills. If the whole process can be made viable then the successful delivery of a low energy home, with the benefits to the consumer that it bring, will encourage more projects to be demanded. At present in the UK this system does not appear to be conducive to the construction of Passivhaus housing. Missing steps occur at almost every phase and especially in the lack of incentivisation to go beyond the minimum regulatory requirements. The UK has opportunities to learn from other European countries that have advanced energy standards in housing. Despite the UK being behind other countries in terms of their supply chains, this also opens up more opportunities for the UK to learn from other European countries and employ successful schemes that were adopted to innovate. The author accepts that the first stage is to provide demonstrable evidence that the Passivhaus standard does actually save energy in a UK context, therefore has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from the building fabric. This evidence could start to appear through acceptable and regulated POE if the projects described in this research are successful. However, if the Government are serious about reducing energy demand in housing, schemes should probably be set up to encourage the Passivhaus standard even before this evidence is in place, through looking at the success in other parts of Europe, however, this evidence on its own doesnâ€™t appear to be enough to cause a catalyst for innovation..
Figure 24: Flow diagram of supply chain; highlighting supply and demand generated, and the important considerations and influences on the supply chain for low energy housing
The important questions relating to this research topic were identified as (Section 1): 1.
In delivering the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale, what contribution or role will the UK supply chain have in delivering the standard?
Would innovation in the supply chain enable the UK to progress towards the Passivhaus standard or other very low energy building standards?
Where do the drivers come from to stimulate this supply chain?
In researching these questions it was hoped to identify issues with the current systems in place for a transition towards more energy efficient housing and develop a series of recommendations on how to improve the delivery of the Passivhaus standard in the UK (Section 1.3).This has been achieved through a multi-methods approach using a literature review, the analysis of case studies and industry engagement via semi-structured interviews. The research approach looked at the issues of local supply chains and focused on Passivhaus products, with a particular emphasis on windows. The research then progressed to approach broader issues through the supply chain including construction processes, and finished by analysing policy in the UK which lead to looking at how lessons could be learnt from adapting initiatives used in other European countries. The standard is still in its infancy in the UK and the research indicates that the major drivers for change will come from Government legislation. However, the supply chain for Passivhaus products and systems is growing in the UK. There are now a number of UK manufacturers of Passivhaus certified windows, some small scale distribution companies distributing the products, and experience is slowly growing as the number of Passivhaus certified houses completed using different construction methods has increased. The Passivhaus window manufacturers in the UK may struggle against competition for Continental Europe, however, niche areas of the market could be exploited and specialist products using regional materials and low embodied energy solutions should be explored. It is felt especially important to show how the
Conclusion Passivhaus standard can be achieved using masonry cavity wall construction in the UK, allowing an easier integration into standard UK building practices. Research points to the supply chain being crucial to developing the Passivhaus standard but innovation at present might be slow due to a lack of incentivisation in the current system to go beyond building regulations. There are a number of options for increasing demand through non regulatory means which over time would reduce the cost associated with meeting the Passivhaus standard, these focus on cultural changes and representing energy saving and comfort in the value of homes. The UK has the potential skills to build to Passivhaus, and examples would demonstrate that fact, but generating the demand to push the industry to change and innovate is the key driver. Other countries have effectively driven towards the Passivhaus standard and lower energy housing by the introduction of incentive schemes which promote low energy housing, enabling the supply chain to innovate and grow in these areas, which gradually reduces the costs of meeting the lower energy standards. Therefore it should be possible to learn lessons from these countries and use these mechanisms and drivers to put the UK on a path to lower energy housing.
6.1 Recommendations Based on the evidence gathered from the literature review and the analysis of case studies and interviews the author has a number of recommendations relating to the research questions posed. In order to drive the supply chains in the UK, increased demand is the major force and the possible ways to achieve this are as follows:
Government should first of all clearly define its route to achieve the EPBD targets. This should be done through an organisation with less of an invested interest than the Zero Carbon Hub. This is the case in Wales; where devolved regulations and an advisory board funded by Government, the proposals for a revised Part L show increased energy efficiency targets compared with Englandâ€™s
Conclusion proposals. More emphasis should be placed on the fabric of the building and less on off-site and onsite renewable energy generation. •
Put more power in the hands of local authorities within the UK.
Incentive schemes should be offered to go beyond the existing Building Regulations, thus expanding the market, as was the case in Austria and Belgium. This may incur costs to the Government as first, but has the potential to create innovation and education which will make the cost of building to tougher energy standards drop in the long term.
Invest in exemplar projects. Repeat the Larch and Lime project in other areas of the UK using a masonry cavity construction.
Prior to successful POE in the UK, set up an education campaign for the supply chain and the public demonstrating the perceived benefits. This could be Government funded, as is the case in Belgium, where free advice on how to build to the Passivhaus standard is given.
Government investment in products through an innovation grant with an emphasis on low embodied energy and the use of regional materials.
Ensure the PassReg project gains momentum and enables the successful transfer of knowledge between countries.
Limitations of research
It is accepted by the author that many of the issues surrounding the Passivhaus standard could not be covered in great detail. This may leave the reader feeling that some important issues have been glossed over. The use of MVHR for instance requires further research and full testing in the UK via POE. The author appreciates that the issues surrounding low carbon policies is complex. The decisions by policy makers and Government must include the thoughts of everyone from within the industry and they must try to make decisions which benefit the country as a whole, considering the economy as well as the
Conclusion environment (as shown in figure 24).
6.3 Recommendations for further research •
A review of suitable investment models which the Government could implement to stimulate the growth of low energy housing and ways to drive innovation in the supply chain.
An economic review of the benefits that producing high specification building components could bring to the UK economy.
A study into the most effective ways of transferring knowledge between countries, supply chains and to the general public.
Create a housing model using masonry cavity wall details which replicate those of the mass housebuilders, but designed to reach Passivhaus certification.
Education related research. How can the quality of housebuilding be improved through education in colleges and through advances in on-site training to educate a new generation of builders to build to higher energy efficiency standards.
University and Industry collaboration to innovate low energy products for a UK market.
POE and BPE on a large scale across all Passivhaus projects. This evidence based research must be demonstrable to have any significance on future Government Legislation.
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References Holladay, M., 2009. Passivhaus Windows. [Online] Available at: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/passivhaus-windows [Accessed 10 08 2012]. Intelligent Energy Europe, 2012. Press Release 16th May: PassREg: Passive House Regions with Renewable Energies. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/filelibrary/PassREg/2012-05-16_PR_PassREg_Kick-off_EN.pdf [Accessed 03 08 2012]. IPHA (a), n.d. Passipedia: What is a Passive House?. [Online] Available at: http://passipedia.passiv.de/passipedia_en/basics/what_is_a_passive_house [Accessed 13 06 2012]. IPHA (b), n.d. Passive House suitable wall systems. [Online] Available at: http://passipedia.passiv.de/passipedia_en/planning/thermal_protection/external_walls/passive_house_sui table_wall_systems [Accessed 12 07 2012]. IPHA (c), n.d. Passive House legislation. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivehouse-international.org/index.php?page_id=176 [Accessed 26 08 2012]. King, N. & Horrocks, C., 2010. Interviews in Qualitative Research. s.l.:Sage Publications. Lovell, H. & Smith, S., 2010. Agencement in housing markets: The case of the UK construction industry. Geoforum, Volume 41, pp. 457-468. Lowe, R. & Oreszczyn, T., 2008. Regulatory standards and barriers to improved performance for housing, s.l.: Elsevier. Lutzkendorf, T. & Lorenz, D., 2007. Integrating sustainability into property risk assessment for market transformation. Building research and information, Volume 35, pp. 644-61. Matteini, D., 2010. Passivhaus Standard; positive effects, problems and limits to its development in Ireland, s.l.: MSc Thesis: Dublin Istitute of Technology. McKibben, B., 2012. Global Warming's Terrifying New Math. [Online] Available at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719 [Accessed 01 08 2012]. 93
References Mcleod, R., Hopfe, C. & Rezgui, Y., 2010. Passivhaus and phpp â€“ do continental design criteria work in a uk climatic context?. Vienna, 3rd BauSIM Conference. McLeod, R., Hopfe, C. & Rezgui, Y., 2012. An investiagtion into recent proposals for a revised defintion of zero carbon homes in the UK. Energy Policy , Issue 46, pp. 25-35. McLeod, R., Tilford, A. & Mead, K., n.d. BRE Passivhaus primer: Contractorâ€™s guide. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/filelibrary/Primers/Passivhaus_Contractors_Guide.pdf [Accessed 08 08 2012]. Mead, K. & Brylewski, R., n.d. BRE Passivhaus primer: An aid to understanding the key principles of the Passivhaus Standard. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/filelibrary/Primers/KN4430_Passivhaus_Primer_WEB.pdf [Accessed 24 07 2012]. MINERGIE, 2012. MINERGIE-A. [Online] Available at: http://www.minergie.ch/minergie-aa-eco.html [Accessed 06 08 2012]. Mlecnik, E., Visscher, H. & Hal, A. v., 2010. Barriers and opportunities for labels for highly energy-efficient houses. Energy Policy, Volume 38, pp. 4592-4603. NHBC Foundation, 2011. Zero Carbon Compendium: Who's doing what in housing worldwide, s.l.: s.n. Osmani, M. & O'Reilly, A., 2009. Feasibility of zero carbon homes in England by 2016: A house builders persepective. Building and Environment, Volume 44, pp. 1917-1924. Passivhaus Dienstleistung GmbH, 2012. Passive House Buildings. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhausprojekte.de/projekte.php [Accessed 18 08 2012]. Passivhaus Trust (a), 2012. Worldwide certification criteria for windows and glazings to be presented at the 16th International Passive House Conference. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhaustrust.org.uk/news/detail/?nId=101#.UCD53E2PX3Q [Accessed 07 08 2012]. Passivhaus Trust (b), 2012. Wimbish Passivhaus. [Online] Available at: http://www.passivhaustrust.org.uk/projects/detail/?cId=16#.UC9Vvd1lSyE [Accessed 12 08 2012].
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Appendix A: Partial verbatim transcripts Question 1: Would the UK benefit from producing local supply chains capable of producing Passivhaus products (such as windows, doors, MVHR, air tight frames)? Prompts: - What are the benefits to the construction industry of using local supply chains? - Economically, socially, environmentally? Is there a need for local supply chains? “There is always a market for better performing products produced in the UK. However, costs must always be considered […] When procuring a project in the UK, it is has been difficult to find products and systems which meet the required Passivhaus performance criteria.” [Specialist in Passivhaus project management] “Absolutely, and this is something the PHI encourages. The best examples are a number of specialist manufacturers in Austria, many of whom have benefited from support from local authorities.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“The UK would definitely benefit economically, I believe this is a huge market” [Passivhaus consultant] “Definitely, yes. Importing products often adds cost and difficult to then source replacement parts” [Project manager & client’s agent]
“Local supply chains are important; it is being done in the UK with some specialist building suppliers sourcing and stocking Passivhaus accredited products, such as the Green Building Store. Before Green Building Store all products were coming from the continent […] It requires education of the building suppliers to stock what is required, such as airtight tapes, which many haven’t even heard of […] The current products produced in the UK aren’t up to the standard, due to a lack in demand.” [Environmental Design Consultant]
“With windows most of the issues have been resolved by the existing manufacturers, my suggestion would be to build in the UK through a partnership with an existing manufacturer. Getting certification to ph standard i believe is expensive so using an existing design would reduce this.”
“Absolutely, the UK is a land of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) and has big opportunities to specialise” [Construction Skills Director] “Local supply chains may benefit the UK economy. However, it may be more economical to have a larger supply area such as central Europe. But is the carbon footprint of that lower? Emotionally I would say, yes.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
Appendix A “It would be a benefit to the UK and the economy. But depending on the size of the market for Passivhaus will depend on the how big the benefit will be.” [Architect & Policy Advisor]
Question 2: Do you think producing Passivhaus products and systems could become cost effective or will importing from overseas always be capable of producing the products cheaper? “A very good reason for going with UK products is that replacement products can be easily sourced, which isn’t the case when importing from abroad. This takes out an element risk.” [Specialist in Passivhaus project management]
“It will take both. You get cheaper labour in Eastern Europe, however, you get cheaper snagging costs from a UK manufacturer, so if there are any issues, for example with windows that are the wrong size or the glass breaks these can be easily sorted out. The UK will need to rely on both - We will be relying on an expanded European market, but we will have more specialised UK manufacturers, especially in the retrofit market where a local supplier could cope with different styles […] Always going to be expensive to manufacture in the UK due to high labour costs so would be at the expensive end […] We manufacture 1/3 in the north of UK and import the rest from Lithuania. None of our windows are Passivhaus certified, which means you need to put more work into the PHPP. You can easily get Ug of 0.55 W/m2K. Therefore this can reduce the cost of your frame. However, we also import certified windows from Austria and Germany but these are very expensive and tend to be at the top end of the market.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
“If the products are being produced in similar level first world countries, the UK should be able to produce the same products, and with a reduced transport cost, should make for cheaper products. If the products are from other European countries with lower wage costs then they will be capable of manufacturing products cheaper. However, these may not be to the same quality.” [Architect & Policy Advisor] “Germany and other Passivhaus countries do have the lead currently although a UK-manufactured supply chain would be possible, if the constraints were removed” [Supply Chain Manager] “I do not think it will come down to cheaper labour costs, but actually about how the supply chain is geared up to deliver the quantity required. Most of these products will be delivered from the EU where production costs are similar, but experience of delivering the products is more advanced than the UK.” [Policy Advisor] “It can be cost effective and should be more cost competitive. It does involve some initial costs in obtaining Passivhaus certification.” [Technical Architectural Director]
Appendix A “If designed right and skilled workers are used it would be possible. Small companies could possibly be more cost effective and keep quality high. I am starting to find it’s not always the cheapest price for some products it’s the ‘whole’ service a local supplier can give a customer.” [Passivhaus Consultant] “Importing normally ends up costing more. Products can be made more cost effective if enough companies produce them in the UK and having an increased ‘product-pool’ will drive down costs. This ‘product-pool’ of Passivhaus products is increasing year on year.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] “Until the market grows in the UK, projects will be procured on lower costing products.” [Environmental Design Consultant]
Question 3: Does the UK stand to miss out on a potential growth market in high specification timber frames and Passivhaus certified products if the industry is not educated early? Comments on timber frames: “The timber frame manufacturers in this country are beginning to catch up with other European countries. Systems are much better now than they were a couple of years ago.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
“The standards that will be required potentially in the 2013 Part L in the UK and the inherent performance required from the fabric will I think minimise this risk.” [Policy Advisor] [This refers to the 2013 proposed changes to the Welsh Building Regulations, where proposals do not depend on MVHR but are based on an air leakage rate that will provide satisfactory air quality through natural ventilation (Welsh Government 2012)] “It is obviously nonsensical to import lightweight timber frames (although most of the timber in UK frames is imported anyway and just assembled here). Passivhaus airtight timber frame is relatively easy with some basic design criteria. For solid timber frames there may be different criteria in terms of the complexity of manufacture and the overall environmental impact. In regard to lightweight frames, the main issues are actually the windows, and doors, the MVHR, and the design and construction process itself. In regard to frames, I don’t think that the UK will miss out if the industry is not educated early. If there is one thing we can produce cheaply in the UK its timber frames, and undercutting foreign frames will be easy, when the market is there. It is very different for windows, doors etc. However, and the main thing is the education of the people who design and build.” [Environmental Design Consultant]
Appendix A Comments on Passivhaus products: “If education throughout the supply chain is not available then the UK will miss out on this growth market” [Passivhaus Consultant]
“The UK is losing out to some extent, but the biggest obstacle is education. Many manufacturers make claims for their products that cannot be substantiated” [Technical Architectural Director] “Definitely yes to this. But it’s about getting investment.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
“This is definitely the case, whether they are PH standards or not. There is a need for further research and development (R&D) in high specification doors and windows and to promote the take up of alternative systems to the SIPS and other closed panels that rely on fossil fuel manufactured insulation products.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“Not many products have gone through the rigmarole of getting products officially certified. Designers tend to think that you have to use certified products, which tend to be imported from Germany. It depends on how much Passivhaus will be adopted.” [Architect & Policy Advisor] “Yes, but the UK can’t do it all in a global market. Maybe look to have – for example – German manufacturers set up in the UK. It’s likely though that most of this most market capability has been lost. The UK seems very bad at transferring R&D into the market place to take advantage of it.” [Construction Skills Director]
Question 4: Will building to the Passivhaus standard on a larger scale potentially shift business away from small scale builders and SME’s and benefit larger companies, potentially changing the way the construction industry operates in the UK?
“There are opportunities for both SMEs and larger contractors. Because of the need for care, attention to detail required when designing to Passivhaus it’s probably a bigger opportunity for smaller builders if they are properly educated. If the education establishment in further and higher education start teaching about these standards such as Passivhaus, which doesn’t necessarily have to be about being ‘green’, it’s more about achieving better quality. The biggest problems come from the very large management led contractors, which have no in house workforce and therefore have a large chain of subcontractors. These types of systems will fail and are failing […] The main clients we have are the self-builders and social
Appendix A landlords – who are interested in the fuel poverty question. The private house builders will always be last on the uptake.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products] “No, I don’t think so. I don’t see any of the mass house builders adopting Passivhaus. It will more be the small scale developments and social housing, so it might be an advantage to the small scale builders.” [Architect & Policy Advisor]
“It might be a challenge for small scale builders at first. However, the industry learns and catches up quickly […] When the CFSH was introduced, the first 6 months required a lot on consultation, but after a few mistakes everyone begins to understand what they need to do.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
“If the Passivhaus standard was implemented the small scale builders may not be able to handle the rigour of the standard and not be able to tool up to the added costs. Small scale builders are already struggling in parts of the UK and additional costs may mean they are lost to the system. This might mean builders walk away if they can’t reach the standard and then the UK would have a supply and demand issue.” [Construction Skills Director]
“Size is not an issue. In some instances smaller companies are more open to innovation and can exercise greater quality control. The worst offenders in terms of build quality tend to be the volume builders, particularly in housing.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“Hopefully not, the smaller contractors often have smaller gangs of subcontractors which can aid in promoting the transfer of skills and knowledge.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent]
“I don’t think the size will make any difference” [Environmental Design Consultant]
Question 5: Passivhaus is often said to cost more. With regard to costs, how much of this is due to inexperience in the workforce and supply chain in delivering the standard? Prompt – Do contractors overprice projects due to the ‘risk’ element of having to deliver an unknown product?
“Contractors overprice due to the risk factor. The prelims (overheads/risk factor/abnormals) on a Passivhaus project are much higher. A big part of this is the management and education of the sub-contractors on site due to the need to educate them […] There is a greater design risk, and a greater risk on site due to potentially longer construction periods.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent]
Appendix A “Yes, a lot. Simple training and simple design details are required. The designer needs to draw easy to follow details […] The key to keeping costs down is to have experienced foremen and workers who take pride in their work […] Academies and college courses will ensure the work force is there when needed.” [Passivhaus Consultant]
“On one of our Passivhaus projects we tried to reduce the risk by opting for SIPs construction for the envelope. This reduced the number of interfaces to be air sealed and ensured a level of quality by utilising offsite manufacture […] Contractors – particularly large ones – tend to have a very traditional approach in terms of construction methods […] Passivhaus doesn’t always have to cost more, for example, Architype’s School in Wolverhampton.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“Much of the increased cost is down to risk factors and the extent that on-site quality is required, resulting in more time checking and verifying performance. The costs increase can be partly attributed to imported equipment, for example; triple glazing , and the use of offsite processed construction systems that the UK is not currently geared up to deliver” [Policy advisor]
“Inexperience usually costs more than just money; time lost, incorrectly installed equipment can be costly. But premiums are charged for using ‘unfamiliar’ technology and systems.” [Supply Chain Manager]
“People aren’t sure how to price Passivhaus. It needs a learning curve on how to price it.” [Construction Skills Director]
“Costs more because of elements like triple glazing, MVHR, more insulation, skilled labour and products not as readily available […] The volume house builders can build so cheap because they understand exactly what is required, the supply chain knows exactly what they’re doing and they work with standard house types. This brings efficiency […] New technology involves more thinking, design and construction time […] The site plays a big part in Passivhaus. If the site is not orientated favourably this can increase costs dramatically. We call these additional costs ‘Passivhaus abnormals’.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
Question 6: What is being done to encourage local supply chains to deliver low energy projects?
“Nothing at all. The Passivhaus Trust is a good source of marketing for local manufacturers.” [Passivhaus Window Manufacturer]
Appendix A “We struggle for our windows to get any investment for our manufacturing base in the UK from lenders. Window manufacture seems to have gone abroad, unless it’s plastic.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products] “The Cut the Carbon website offers some help, but the process is still not joined up. Passivhaus isn’t embedded in mainstream and is therefore a specialist bit of building.” [Construction Skills Director]
“The Government has many bodies aimed encouraging low energy projects but the delivery along the supply chains remains patchy. This is because the traditionally conservative construction industry is slow to respond and there are many new technologies to undertake and master […] What is required are dedicated integrated supply chains in each building sector.” [Supply Chain Manager]
“Very little and certainly not by Government. There are large contractors in the UK who do not trust supply chains and will hawk contracts around just to get the cheapest price.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“With the CFSH, using local suppliers gets additional credits. Even when Passivhaus products are available they are not often regionally local to the site.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent]
“Current economic system and economic policies discourage local supply chains as they are seen as barriers to competition.” [Environmental Design Consultant] Question 7: Would Government investment be required to establish local supply chains to reduce the reliance on imported products and systems? “Standard practice by Government is not to invest in the supply chain but to increase standards using the Building Regulations, and CFSH for housing associations. This forces the supply chains to catch up. It’s not pushed at the supplier end. The supply chains must supply the demand that is created in the market […] If Government invested in the supply chain and set it up to deliver the Passivhaus standard, would people use it without the legislation in place? They only would if the products and services were provided at the same price.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management] “Government investment will always be positive to encourage local supply chains. Local supply chains could form part of the tender process in the future, by using a points scoring system whereby if local supply chains are used you get a higher score.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent]
Appendix A “I think so, as long as investment is distributed to the smaller firms I think it would be beneficial. I could see it helping with rural economies and expanding the ‘circular economy’, which is the way forward for sustainable businesses. This would help regions be more self-sufficient.” [Passivhaus Consultant] “Central Government – and particularly this one – are not going to invest in this. They tend to be reactive and wait until it’s too late. Local authorities are the ones who could help and should go and see how it’s done in Europe – for example; Tirol, Frankfurt, Hannover, Brussels etc. Universities could help by offering their service to small manufacturers to help obtain evidence of performance and certification.” [Technical Architectural Director]
“Government help would be beneficial, but it always runs the risk of being classified as state aid. Under EU procurement rules any such assistance has to be carefully instigated.” [Policy Advisor] “Initially additional funding would be required. However, due to EU procurement laws it opens up the whole market for anyone in Europe to tender […] There are some proposals to change these laws to protect indigenous companies” [Construction Skills Director] “Local supply chains are in conflict with global economics and the policies which dominate the UK. Until this changes it will be difficult to even think about really local and regional supply chains.” [Environmental Design Consultant]
“Dedicated integrated supply chains are required to transform the market.” [Supply Chain Manager] Question 8: Does it come down to supply and demand? I.e. When the market demand for Passivhaus is strong in the UK, will the supply chains be created? “Yes, until people can see that the market is going towards Passivhaus people won’t set up. The UK definitely lacks a clear market signal. Currently split between the requirements of BRE/CFSH and the Passivhaus standard.” [Passivhaus Window Manufacturer] “Education – or lack of – Is the biggest obstacle.” [Technical Architectural Director] “Demand will stimulate supply but these need to be integrated chains.” [Supply Chain Manager] “Yes, but it needs a good partnership between Government. The industry can innovate but it needs the confidence and an accurate route or direction.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] “In the current financial situation few companies are investing in R&D, which is required in many cases to deliver the equipment required under Passivhaus. Companies that are prepared to make an early
Appendix A investment would no doubt benefit should Passivhaus become a more popular standard in the UK.” [Policy Advisor]
“Yes, but I don’t believe that the Passivhaus standard will become the norm in the UK and most of the major house builders are very anti the standard, as it is too complicated and requires too much on site control to deliver the standard.” [Policy Advisor]
“If there’s a market people will want to make money and therefore the supply chains will be set up.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
Question 9: What would it take to get the industry geared up to deliver the Passivhaus standard on a large scale for housing? Prompts – What are the key factors – Government legislation/change in culture/innovations in the supply chain? “The UK has the skills in manufacturing and construction to deliver the standard. The market will be flooded when a clear market signal is given.” [Academic & Passivhaus Consultant] “A key issue is that larger scale house builders are out to make money. Therefore, they will only build houses to Passivhaus if they have to, or, if people are willing to pay more money for them. I don’t think house buyers are interested or willing to pay more money at the moment […] People might become more interested when energy becomes even more expensive. People will then demand more energy efficient homes but I’m not sure when this tipping point will be. At the moment there is no driver by the consumers […] If builders do it, it will be from legislation through the building regulations […] The faster things move the more expensive the construction process becomes. Therefore things must go forward at a reasonable pace to allow the supply chain to keep up. Possibly Government investment in the supply chain may improve things […] The supply chain, the market culture, and legislation, must all be stimulated at the same time ... I don’t think the Passivhaus standard will the standard in the UK, at least not for a while […] Test projects will be key to show benefits […] Funding has been reduced for social housing schemes and If the Government doesn’t have the mechanism of advanced standards in social housing to prep the supply chain, this could have a detrimental effect on how the supply chain develops and the industry moves forward. [Refers to when affordable/social housing is funded by the HCA (Homes and Community Agency), homes must achieve CFSH Level 3 (Sustainable Homes 2011)].” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management]
Appendix A “Legislation is obviously the key driver and will create an instant demand but this will not happen in the UK. There is a fad of Passivhaus being fashionable at the moment but the standards embedded in the Welsh consultation document for the changes proposed for the 2013 Building Regulations mean that even if you built a Passivhaus you still wouldn’t achieve Building Regulation compliance in Wales […]They will never allow a Passivhaus certified using PHPP to become instantly compliant with building regulations […] Market forces are also important. The housing associations and house builders will have to respond to the pubic wanting a Passivhaus and people being able to differentiate between a Passivhaus and a non Passivhaus by paying more for a Passivhaus or less for a non-Passivhaus. There would have to be demonstrable benefits that you could prove and these would need to be spelled out to the general public. The big thing it comes down to is whether the UK population will accept MVHR. And also how people respond to having to change filters in MVHR, so there’s the whole behavioural science factor.” [Architect & Policy Advisor] “Demand must be created through legislation and value, through: -
De-mystifying Passivhaus – Change perception that windows can be opened, not everything has to
be imported and that costs don’t necessarily have to be too much higher. -
Link the benefits of Passivhaus to the property values. The benefits of living in a Passivhaus should
be reflected in the price/value of the properties. Maybe show an estimate of the bills you might be getting on the lifetime of the property. This will require a change in mentality of consumers who must then want or demand low energy housing. -
Demonstrable results through POE, showing concrete evidence and positive occupant feedback.
Education of the supply chain, which will only happen through experience. However, this is a looped
cycle because education will only take place when the demand is there.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] “Regulation will be the only driver that will make industry gear up to deliver the standard, history has shown that the Construction Industry is reactive and not proactive, when it comes to meeting new standards The industry as a whole would need a step change in the way it does business, from colleges and universities to the building profession would need to learn and promote the standard, and demonstrate that it can be achieved on a repeat basis and at an affordable price.” [Policy Advisor] “There must be a clear path on where the industry is going. This would allow people to plan and build businesses to respond to the future. Currently ‘Allowable Solutions’ confuse everything. Without clear leadership the market cannot respond. It would too risky as aspirations towards zero carbon are always changing. Therefore no innovation in products in the UK until clear legislation is there […] The problem is that house builders make excellent profits and increasing the standards threatens to take away this profitability […] Try a move towards a culture of self-build. Sell land to individuals rather than mass developers. People would then demand higher end buildings. This creates a demand and also forces the up107
Appendix A skilling of the supply chain to match what is being demanded by the market.” [Environmental Design Consultant]
“The biggest driver would be building regulations or legislation that forces people to build to a certain code level […] Without MVHR you can only get to around 30-40 kWh/m2. This is what the ZCH are aiming for. They don’t feel the industry is capable of getting the airtightness down to 0.6 or 1ach. It’s more an issue of not wanting to get to this level of airtightness rather than not wanting to use MVHR […] MVHR must be designed properly. In the past it has been done badly. In order for MVHR to be efficient you need high levels of insulation and an airtight fabric […] Once the customer realises that the buildings are more comfortable to inhabit, the value will go up and the value of uncomfortable housing will go down […] It could be a case that one documentary produced at the right time by someone famous will drive it.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
“People need to keep producing and recording data. Facts, figures and trends must be shown. These will speak for themselves […] Incentives for local supply chains and investment in obtaining data from Passivhaus houses.” [Passivhaus Window Manufacturer] “It would require Government buy in and restructuring of PHPP – which would be difficult as its not UK owned […] A near Passivhaus solution may be the halfway solution.” [Supply Chain Manager] “Perhaps a gigantic leap in energy costs […] Most of all education. There are a growing number of exemplars in the UK but these tend to relatively small scale.” [Technical Architectural Director] “Probably legislation saying every new building has to be done to Passivhaus standard. However, I am entirely against this as I do not see Passivhaus as the best standard for new build, though it certainly could be one of the compliance standards.” [Environmental Design Consultant] “The problem is that there are no ‘enablers’ or guidance in achieving Passivhaus in the UK […] Policy gets written by people with invested interest. The ZCH has massive influence from NHBC […] The Government need an independent committee or task force to consult on an accurate route to the targets.” [Academic and Passivhaus Consultant]
Question 10: Do you think the UK should take precedent from other countries and look at how they set up their supply chains to deliver the Passivhaus standard? “In Austria for example the Government provides mortgage reductions if you build to Passivhaus. Therefore, there is an incentive there for people. There is no such incentivisation in the UK. This sort of incentivisation stimulates a clear market signal […] The barriers to Passivhaus must be changed to enablers.” [Academic and Passivhaus Consultant]
Appendix A “We believe that in places like Germany there are more opportunities for partnership for money lenders and banks with industry therefore long term investment is more possible there. In this country unless you make big profits or have large capital behind you, you can’t borrow money to set things up.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
“The UK has a lot of ‘red tape’, especially for social housing. An issue with Passivhaus for social housing is the smaller the dwelling the harder it is to achieve the standard.” [Project Manager & Client’s Agent] “It really needs adapting to our own climate, market and our own district building techniques. We could look to adopting new techniques but this might cause smaller builders problems. The most appropriate route is to build on what we’ve got, but this takes time.” [Specialist in Passivhaus Project Management] “I think we probably should […] Germany has had higher performance requirements for quite some time. The risk for the UK is that we are coming from a low base and we are trying to run to a very high level. Germany have done all this over a planned timeframe which have allowed their supply chains to develop, this allows companies to plan and develop the supply chains and undertake R&D because they have certainty in each step […] In the UK since 2002, which was the first major changes in Part L, there have been remarkable advances in energy performance which has meant the supply chain can’t really keep up with it. A couple of years ago, 2016 was going to be when zero carbon buildings would be legislated, which has now fallen by the wayside. Hence, the industry and the supply chains don’t trust what the Government says so they don’t want to put money into R&D. There is a real reticence in the supply chain to commit to R&D until the Government comes up with a clear time frame. There is a lot of over complexity in the system which ought to be very straight forward.” [Architect & Policy Advisor] “We have a free market economy in this country where the market economy is everything. Until we have a change in society where Government becomes involved in the industry nothing will change. Maybe put more power in the hands of local authorities. However, the industry is run by big organisations that would override any regional policies.” [Passivhaus Consultant & distributer of Passivhaus products]
Appendix B: Partial verbatim transcripts EU Question 1: How has popularity in the Passivhaus standard progressed in your country?
“Began to spread knowledge in Austria [Vorarlberg province] after studying various case studies across Europe for 2 years, decided the Passivhaus standard was the most applicable and best standard to adopt in Austria. Invited experts from Germany to Austria and organised 2 week seminars during the summer. Then the CEPHEUS projects spread the knowledge to all the provinces in Austria […] Existing MVHR was made better […] Lobbying groups were set up in Vorarlberg province and these groups then spread across Austria […]Incentive schemes were set up. The higher the energy standard of the house/flat the more support you receive. The maximum amount of money – step 5 – was the Passivhaus standard or equivalent […] Tried to get more interest in self-owned housing and flats. This gained public support and developers found people then wanted to go beyond the normal standards […] Vorarlberg then decided in 2007 that social housing must be designed to the Passivhaus standard.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Voralberg, Austria] “In 2007 the Government launched incentives […] Grant of up to 100 €/m2 if you achieve the Passivhaus standard was made available for everyone. They wanted to know if incentivising in this way would create a reaction in the industry. People didn’t care about Passivhaus or CO2, they only wanted the grant to save money. This made the cost price of Passivhaus drop dramatically especially in larger housing […] The designers and contractors now do their own construction details. They adapt existing styles to the Passivhaus standard instead of simply copying what was being done in Germany and Austria. In Belgium it’s mostly massive construction so don’t use timber frame and therefore don’t need to import airtightness tapes […] The market costs reduce because they can use their existing methods of construction but these have been adapted to the Passivhaus standard.” [Architect, Director Plate-forme Maison Passive (PMP), Brussels, Belgium]
Question 2: What is being done to encourage local supply chains to deliver low energy projects? “Once the CEPHEUS projects were completed and results came through the market demand was stimulated. Architects who produced first Passivhaus project in Austria produced their own wooden Passivhaus window. Also the same then happened in Tirol Province as well. The demand for Passivhaus spurred on this innovation.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Voralberg, Austria] “Nothing but stimulating the market has created a growth in the local market of PHI certified products. In beginning the products mostly came from Austria and some from Germany. Now more than 50% are made in Belgium and triple glazing is not a special product anymore. Austrian and German frames have become
Appendix B cheaper to match market in Belgium. Belgium products have been created in response to market stimulation […] Embodied energy has almost no effect on the market.” [Architect, PMP, Belgium] Question 3: Why were the Government keen to stimulate demand in Passivhaus? “70% of our energy consumption is driven by oil, gas and coal. Chosen to be the most suitable standard to implement.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Voralberg, Austria] “In 2005 grants existed for PV, solar thermal. They changed the funding to promote Passivhaus because they identified its benefits in reducing energy use/CO2.” [Architect, PMP, Brussels, Belgium] Question 4: Is timber frame the main method of construction?
“Depends on the province and the developer […] A lot of timber but also all other types. Using cavity wall is very difficult to achieve with Passivhaus. Joining the two skins of brick is therefore a problem […] Passivhaus has been adapted to the typical types of construction.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Austria] “No. All types of construction are used. Mostly for housing using brickwork with plastering directly on bricks which helps with airtightness. Pre-fab concrete walls are common which are airtight with silicon joint joining panels. Building to the Passivhaus standard was integrated into local techniques.” [Architect, Director Plateforme Maison Passive, PMP, Belgium]
Question 5: What has enabled the uptake of advanced building standards? Has it been enabled through innovations in the products, or through legislation and policy or through a shift in culture? “In all countries it is difficult to get the higher standards because the building industry knows they will have to work harder and earn less money at first whilst they are on the learning curve […] The best way would be to have demonstration projects all over the country in different construction methods, developed by highly skilled Architects, designers and craftsmen so that the buildings work very well. You will find the consumers are happy with their properties. It will avoid cases where the buildings perform poorly and what happens when a new standard is brought in the blame for any fault is within the standard, therefore it must be ensured that the building performs exactly as intended. For every failed Passivhaus you have to prove with about 20 good examples to wipe out the bad example […]Local Governments in Austria have much more power [9 Federal Governments]. They can set their own targets which effectively stimulates competition. Other Governments then follow and push each other.” [Architect & Director of Energy Institute, Austria] Government invested the grant in 2007. Government helped fund the PHI in Belgium [PMP] to help people build to the standard. This provides free advice, paid by the Government, for anybody wanting to build to the Passivhaus […] For implemented the law in 2011 [Brussels legislation – all new builds and retro fits built 111
Appendix B using the Belgium Passivhaus standard as of 2015 (IPHA n.d)]. Initially the other political parties were against it. They wanted to know if the market could handle the changes, they wanted to see impact studies, is it possible? The party leader showed them the results of the grant and showed how the market reacted and this was satisfactory. The most important thing is to show studies and successful precedents from your own country, not just from other countries […] In Belgium, more famous Architects started building to Passivhaus. Sexy designs, with strange forms still work. This inspires other architects […] Make building to the Passivhaus standard as similar to traditional techniques as possible. Working with the contractors to achieve this was the single biggest factor in stimulating. Once other contractors realised that this could be done others wanted to do the same […]Training throughout the supply chain is now common in Belgium […]De-mystify that it’s not just a German standard which requires MMC and timber frame […] Communication must happen between professions. Contactors talk to contractors, Architects to Architects etc.” [Architect, Director PMP, Belgium]
Published on Dec 26, 2012
A review of the supply chain involved in new-build housing. A thesis awarded a distinction from the Welsh School of Architecture. Supervise...