Childs Sulzmann Architects were appointed by Linc Cymru Housing Association to design and oversee the construction of 38 new Passivhaus dwellings in Caerphilly. The development consists of 4 terraced houses and 34 one and two bed apartments catering for the needs of young families and residents aged 55 and over.
The project is the first large-scale Passivhaus social housing development to be built in Wales and sets a precedent for new low-carbon housing provision in the area.
As the world’s leading fabric first approach to the design of low energy buildings, Passivhaus places an emphasis on dramatically reducing space heating and cooling requirements whilst also creating excellent indoor air quality and comfort levels (www.passivhaus.org.uk).
The Passivhaus energy performance standard works on the basis of minimizing the ‘heating demand’ of a building, thus reducing energy costs as well as carbon emissions. Exceptional levels of insulation and resistance to air leakage mean that heat stays within the building and can be recovered and circulated by a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit. The MVHR unit operates on low energy levels to transfer heat from outgoing stale air to incoming fresh air, re-using up to 95% of the warmth that would have otherwise been lost. The minimal heating demand of Passivhaus buildings means that annual fuel costs for residents are considerably lower than average.
Linc Cymru specialise in the affordable housing, social care and health sectors. They provide homes and services for general needs tenants as well as older and more vulnerable people, enabling them to live as independently as possible in their own homes or supported housing schemes. The reduction in energy costs associated with Passivhaus standard dwellings will be greatly beneficial to Linc’s residents, making the cost of living much more affordable. Occupants will rarely need any heating, and when they do this will be provided by a small wall mounted heater. Heating costs for the flats will be less than £100/year. The houses on the site also benefit from reduced heating and energy bills with the scheme seeking to achieve at least 75% less than a standard house.