Website tracks first rural social housing Passivhaus development

9 November 2010 Wimbish Passivhaus logo
A new website tracks the development of what is intended to be the first rural social housing PassivHaus development in the UK.

The website, at has been put together by the key partners in the development to enable shared learning across the sector. The partners are Hastoe, Inbuilt, Parsons & Whittley and Bramall Construction.

Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive at Hastoe said: “We hope that visitors to the site find the information provides a useful insight into this exciting example of how innovation and advanced building techniques can work for rural affordable housing. We are committed to the climate change protection agenda and will learn a lot from this scheme. This website is intended to enable others in the sector to benefit from that learning too.”

Within the site there is a blog which will provide regular updates on progress and address issues as they arise. In addition, there is a photograph library which will build up over time and a download section with resources such as detailed plans and technical drawings.Sketch View at Wimbish, Essex

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP got the development underway at an earth turning ceremony in August.  Fourteen homes for rent and shared ownership will be provided, made possible by grant funding from the Housing & Communities Agency and the active support of Uttlesford District Council and Wimbish Parish Council.

The homes will require little or no energy use for heating or cooling. The homes will have excellent thermal comfort and ventilation and low primary energy use. The buildings will also achieve high quality construction standards and reach Code Four of the Code for Sustainable Homes meaning that they will be super energy efficient.

The development is on a rural exception site protected by a legal agreement. This means the homes provided will be for local people in housing need, now and in the future and they cannot be lost to the open market.


For more information please contact Rebecca Beaumont, Hastoe on 020 8973 0437 or
Notes to the the Editor

Housing represents 27% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and the Government has set a target for an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

Passivhaus is a design methodology for ultra low-energy buildings, promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. There are about 12,500 Passivhaus buildings worldwide, the vast majority of them in Germany and Austria, and the approach is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK as developers and designers consider their options to meet the Government's zero carbon targets.

Hastoe Housing Association Limited is a not-for-profit organisation that owns and manages over 4,000 homes in southern England for affordable housing through letting and shared ownership. Half of these homes are in rural areas. Hastoe works closely with its residents to ensure it provides sustainable homes in sustainable communities. Hastoe’s subsidiary Sustainable Homes Ltd provide training on Passivhaus and retrofitting homes to low carbon.

Bramall Construction is part of the Keepmoat Group, a highly successful community regeneration organisation with a turnover of more than £560 million a year. Other group companies include Frank Haslam Milan, Keepmoat Homes, Keepmoat Site Services and Milnerbuild.  Bramall Construction specialises in delivering innovative solutions to the refurbishment and new build social housing market and are pioneering Extra Care housing. The company works throughout Yorkshire, Humberside, East Midlands, East of England and the North West. Since its beginning in 1931, Bramall Construction has grown into a progressive and forward thinking construction organisation with a turnover of more than £200 million a year.

It is now involved in numerous long-term partnerships with local authorities, Arm’s Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), Large Scale Voluntary Transfers (LSVTs), Housing Associations and other Social Landlords to help them achieve the Government’s housing targets.

Parsons & Whittley is an award winning architectural practice based in Swaffham, Norfolk. Currently with a team of 7 the practice is experienced in all types of buildings, with a project list ranging from private residences through housing and property development, to commercial projects such as office developments and car showrooms. Being rurally based, it has also undertaken an extensive range of agricultural building conversion work. Further information can be found at
Inbuilt is the UK's leading consultancy specialising purely in the research, design and delivery of sustainable built environments. Inbuilt are one of just twenty organisations worldwide accredited by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany to certify Passivhaus buildings.  It focuses on three core areas of expertise: strategic sustainability consultancy, low and zero carbon buildings and renewable energy consultancy. Closely linked to these activities, it also provides training, Passivhaus certification, design and technical services and research into all areas of sustainability. Further information can be found at:
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