Certified Passivhaus Designer

We are are committed to evolving our approach to design and development, and our team of certified Passivhaus House Designers is growing as the need for sustainable places is recognised more widely. Meet the team, and find out what inspired them to pursue the certification.

What initially interested you in becoming a certified Passivhaus designer?

I’d worked on a couple of PH projects; first one was a competition with Ross, and a couple of years later, a private residential.

There are more and more enquiries coming through which have now branched out from just residential, and I was interested in learning more about the applications in these different types of buildings.

Have you always had an interest in Passivhaus design?

Yes, since the first job in 2008 for the Highland Housing Fair. I think it is probably the best model to solve the energy crisis we are facing.

Have you seen the demand for Passivhaus design grow over the last few years and if so, why do you think this has happened?

It’s definitely growing. A lot of it is to do with more public buildings and local authorities looking at their buildings and how to make them more environmentally friendly; Passivhaus is one of the best models for that. Many buildings are designed to be energy efficient, however when they are constructed don’t match the plans, and can actually use more energy than if they weren’t designed this way. Passivhaus allows you to monitor the expected efficiencies more precisely.

HLM Architects has a bold and ambitious aim of achieving RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes 2030 targets on all projects by 2025. Why do you believe Passivhaus design is so important to delivering a more sustainable built environment?

To be Passivhaus certified, energy use is limited to a level much lower than current building regulations, and more in line with where the regulations will have to move to in the future.

What are the main benefits to Passivhaus design?

Thermal comfort – mechanical ventilation means that the air is regulated, and constantly provides fresh air.

What new skills/knowledge are you most looking forward to incorporating in new Passivhaus projects?

Using the model (PHPP) to develop a building that will be certified Passivhaus, seeing what the implications are of amending the materials in different ways – and how we can reach the Passivhaus criteria. Detailing is much more important because of the level required, where we work to 1-5 rather than 1-10 – getting used to this stricter way of working will be interesting.

Do you have a favourite Passivhaus building?

Tigh Na Croit house.

Do you have any other thoughts on Passivhaus as a concept, or its future?

Retrofitting (EnerPHit standard for Passivhaus) is something that we need to look at, as a practice – we need to consider it in order to meet the government standard.

90% of the houses we will be living in by 2050 have already been built, and won’t meet the net zero target, so this is important if we are going to manage it.

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