"If more houses were built to this standard, costs will begin to come down" - First Passive House in Calderdale is certified

The first ‘passive house’ to be built in Calderdale has been officially certified.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 28th March 2022, 1:03 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 1:04 pm
Coun Scott Patient, Coun Dot Foster, Paul Martin, Director of West End Joiners and Builders Ltd, Ian Whitworth, Progressive Architecture and Graham Joyce
Coun Scott Patient, Coun Dot Foster, Paul Martin, Director of West End Joiners and Builders Ltd, Ian Whitworth, Progressive Architecture and Graham Joyce

The low energy house was completed over a year ago and, after undergoing a rigorous validation procedure, has been certified by the Passivehaus Institute in Germany.

Located in the Willowfield area of Sowerby Bridge, the house was designed by Huddersfield based architects, Progressive, and built by West End Joiners and Builders Ltd. of Halifax.

Designed to be highly energy efficient, the house follows strict design and build principles to minimise heat loss and utilise heat from the sun and domestic appliances to reduce the amount of additional heating required.

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The house

The house features south facing triple glazed windows and is heavily insulated. It is also extremely airtight, exceeding the current building regulations requirement by a factor of 20. To ensure adequate ventilation, a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system keeps the incoming air warm and clean.

Additional heating is provided in the winter months by electric heaters, with hot water supplied via an air-source heat pump/storage cylinder. Solar photo-voltaic panels on the south facing roof reduce the need for electricity, with mains electricity provided by a 100 per cent renewable supplier.

The owners, Graham Joyce and his wife Sally, were keen to have a new home built which would be as ‘future proofed’ as possible. Huddersfield based Green Building Store provided advice and specialist materials and equipment.

"Whilst this adds to the costs of a ‘normal’ house, it is worth the extra investment to be comfortable and contribute to climate change targets," Graham said.

"Ideally, all new houses should be built using the Passivehaus principles and the same high standards, but current building regulations do not require this. If more houses were built to this standard, costs will begin to come down as builders become more familiar with the construction methods.

"There is the much bigger problem of retro-fitting the existing housing stock, but new builds can also make a contribution to mitigating the climate crisis."

Presenting the certificate to the owners, Councillor Scott Patient, Calderdale Council's cabinet member for climate change and resilience, which includes housing, said: "This is incredibly exciting. As we look towards building more energy efficient, sustainable housing in Calderdale and ending our reliance on fossil fuels, it’s important we showcase alternative methods of building.

"Applying ‘Passivehaus principles’ is one of the ways we can build homes fit for the future, both tackling the climate emergency and ending fuel poverty. We need more like this in Calderdale."