New Passivhaus on site

Another Passivhaus building designed by Halvorsen Architects is currently under construction in western Edinburgh.

Edinburgh City Council granted planning permission for the new four-bedroom, two-storey contemporary house in 2020. Due to material cost inflation and supply-chain disruptions caused by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other global crises, we unfortunately needed to embark on various cost-cutting exercises before being able to finalise the plan and commence construction. Luckily we were able to maintain the Passivhaus standard of the design, although regrettably certain elements, such as the Isoquick thermal insulation foundations, had to be scrapped.

The building – which will comprise a large open-plan kitchen/dining/living area which opens onto the back garden, an office and four bedrooms – is situated on a relatively compact site in Craigleith, to the west of Edinburgh’s city centre.

The structure is of timber, with timber I-joists being used in the walls and roof to minimise thermal bridging. Posi-Joists are being used in the internal floors allowing ample room for mechanical ventilation and heat-recovery duct work which is required in every room. This method of ventilating the house while extracting heat is a necessary when designing to Passivhaus standards.

While the roof of the single-storey part of the house will be green sedum, the main roof will be covered with photovoltaic panels. The panels will provide all the electricity the house needs, given demand will be greatly reduced owing to the fact it will be superinsulated and super-airtight, as well as an external EV charging point.

The Craigleith house will also be equipped with a Sunamp phase-change heat battery, permitting the majority of excess energy generated by the PV panels to be stored on-site – with any further excess sold on to the grid. This approach was recommended because of the risk of possible future outages arising from the risk that the country’s generation capacity will struggle to meet increased demand caused by the growing electrification of the UK economy. Hopefully, it should mean the client is going to be self-sufficient in energy.

The Passivhaus uses wood-fibre board panelling, sheep’s wool insulation, and triple-glazed windows throughout. 

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