Replicable Passivhaus techniques set to influence rural affordable design and build for the future

11 July 2011

Wimbish Passivhaus is the first rural affordable accredited Passivhaus project in the UK

“Our exemplar Passivhaus development is now complete” announces Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive of Hastoe Housing Association. “This innovative project, supported by the rural community of Wimbish, has taught us a great deal about how the Passivhaus approach can shape the affordable home of the future.”Wimbish Passivhaus nears completion - April 2011

“We chose to invest in this approach because Hastoe is committed to environmental sustainability and to identifying ways that new homes can tackle fuel poverty and help residents in an era of ever increasing living costs."

“The lessons learnt are already being replicated on site at our second Passivhaus development in Ditchingham, Norfolk and we will be developing more Passivhaus schemes after that. It proves that overcoming the challenges associated with developing homes for local people, in sensitive rural areas, can go hand in hand with cutting edge techniques.”

“We’re hosting a monthly visitor experience from September, to share more about the project with professionals from the sector.”

The scheme is the result of a strong partnership between Hastoe, Wimbish Parish Council, Uttlesford District Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Building works started in July 2010 and completed in June 2011. £830,000 of a £2million project was provided by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), with the remainder invested by Hastoe.

Architects, Parsons & Whittley and contractor, Bramall Construction have contributed to the strong learning culture on this project with specialist consultancy provided by Inbuilt.

Wimbish Passivhaus was shortlisted last week for the Sustainable Housing Awards 2011 for Sustainable Smaller Housing project of the year.

Cllr Mike Young, Chairman, Wimbish Parish Council:
“We only made one stipulation; that the properties be as ’green‘ as possible. Passivhaus more than exceeds our expectations and the homes have the potential to deliver savings of more than 90% in heating bills compared to a modern conventional build. At the same time, these homes are giving younger generations an opportunity to make their home in the village.”

Terry Fuller, Executive Director, HCA:
“We are thrilled that the first rural Passivhaus scheme in the UK has been helped by funding from the HCA. It is an excellent example of how affordable homes which are built to high environmental standards can be provided for local people at price they can afford.”

The fourteen homes comprise one, two and three bedroom flats and houses for rent (10) and for shared ownership (4). All of the homes are occupied by people with strong connections to the local area.

Chris Parsons, Director, Parsons and Whittley Architects:
“Passivhaus is the only sensible way to reduce energy demand from our buildings; reducing the fabric energy requirements of our homes first means that we will all use less energy.
The houses at Wimbish are truly innovative for the UK, seeking the limits of performance of our construction techniques and quality, whilst retaining the ability of the construction industry to deliver.”
Robert Loudoun, Construction Director at Bramall Construction:
“We are proud to have worked alongside Hastoe, Inbuilt and Parsons Whittley on what is our first Passivhaus scheme. The project has been a great learning experience for us and has enabled us to develop strategies for carrying out similar projects in the future.”

Nick Jones, Associate Director, Inbuilt:
“Projects like this lead the way in integrating Passivhaus techniques with modern design and construction to push down heating bills to the minimum, to help combat higher costs of living and fuel poverty in rural areas. This has been a real opportunity for Inbuilt to support Hastoe and its partners, to play a role in maintaining the viability of such communities.”

Ulrike Maccariello, Development Manager, Hastoe added:
“We are really pleased too to have secured funding from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board to monitor the ongoing environmental and energy environmental performance of the homes. This will help us to show the benefits of this type of low-carbon construction technique, how it can work in the UK and for our climate.”

It was one of only five domestic projects to succeed in the second round of applications to the Building Performance Evaluation Competition, which is open until 2012. The funds will enable an in-depth study to take place over 30 months.

More information about Wimbish Passivhaus project can be found at the dedicated site:
-Ends –

For more information please contact Rebecca Beaumont at Hastoe, or call 020 8973 0437.
Notes to Editors
  • 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 is supporting the National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week.
  • Partners - Housing association: Hastoe, Parish Council: Wimbish, Local authority: Uttlesford District Council, Funder: Homes and Communities Agency, Architect: Parsons and Whittley, Contractor: Bramall, Consultant: Inbuilt
  • Bramall Construction is part of the Keepmoat Group, a highly successful community regeneration organisation with a turnover of more than £560 million a year.
    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, South East, London 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.
  • 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: 
  • Key Passivhaus techniques include:
    • Very high levels of insulation
    • Significant reduction or complete removal of thermal bridging
    • Very low levels of air leakage
    • Triple glazed, highly efficient windows and doors
    • Mechanical ventilation with >90% heat recovery
    • Space heating through the air supply
    • Passive solar gain techniques
    • Shading for passive cooling
    • Detailed modelling of consequent energy use
    VISITOR EXPERIENCE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE: Contact Angela Davis or Jackie Deane AT HASTOE ON 01799 533 170 OR EMAIL
    • 6 September 2011 (not 5th as previously advertised)
    • 4 October 2011
    • 8 November 2011
    • 6 December 2011
    • 10 January 2012
    • 7 February 2012
    • Further dates 2012 will be announced in due course
  • The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit: Technology Strategy Board website
  • For further information about the Building Performance Evaluation competition for funding please visit: Building Performance Evaluation competition
  • Hastoe were supported in the application to the Building performance Evaluation competition by Build with CaRe; monitoring low energy homes in the East of England since 2009.  Bruce Tofield, project manager for Build with CaRe at the University of East Anglia, said: “Hastoe’s initiative to build to Passivhaus standards leads the way towards low-carbon construction in the UK. The monitoring at Wimbish will demonstrate the benefits of Passivhaus for residents not just in terms of low energy bills but also in terms of better internal air quality and well-being. We are very pleased to have been able to help Hastoe with this successful bid.”
  • Hastoe will be supported in the monitoring project execution by Martin Ingham of Linktreat Limited; supplementary occupant behaviour studies will be undertaken by University of East Anglia researchers.
  • Build with CaRe is an international project with the ambition to help mainstream low-energy construction in the North Sea region and across the EU. Build with CaRe is partly funded by the Interreg North Sea IV B Programme, European Regional Development Fund. East of England partners in Build with CaRe are the University of East Anglia, West Suffolk College and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. Please visit
  • Linktreat Ltd provides strategic carbon management consultancy services to forward the low carbon agenda, predominantly in the built environment. This includes consultancy for Build with CaRe on barriers to low-carbon construction and on monitoring of low-energy buildings.
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