Gale & Snowden’s Passivhaus scheme at Rowan House for Exeter City Council has been shortlisted for three awards at the 2011 LABC South West Building Excellence Awards: Best Social Housing Development; Best Technical Development and Best Sustainable Development.
The 3 flats at Rowan House, Sivell Place, Exeter are among the first social housing accommodation in the UK to be built using the Passivhaus method for an apartment development.
When the client, Exeter City Council, was offered a funding opportunity by the HCA to develop council housing in Exeter, it was decided to use this chance to provide exemplary, affordable housing, built to the highest standard of sustainable construction.
To meet the stringent Passivhaus standard it was required to achieve exceptional levels of air tightness with the air permeability target as low as 0.3 cbm/sqm/h. This, together with high levels of insulation, high performance windows and doors, thermal bridge free detailing and the use of a more than 90% efficient mechanical ventilation system has reduced the overall heating demand to a minimum so that a traditional heating system was not required.
Achieving the Passivhaus standard was only possible through the combined effort of the design team developing the air tightness strategy and detailing, the site management team and builders for implementing this strategy and finally the client for their commitment and passion to deliver an outstanding, exemplary housing scheme. Purely through passive design elements Rowan House will use approximately 90% less heating energy when compared to a standard UK building (if built to current Building Regulation requirements). In other words Rowan House could be heated by the equivalent of 1.5 litre of heating oil, i.e.15 kWh of thermal energy per sqm per year, or 60p per sqm per year (based on a price for heating oil of 40p a litre), making it truly affordable for its future tenants without compromising on comfort or indoor air quality.

This year the LABC SW Building Excellence Award winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner on Friday 24th June 2011.  David, Lawrence and Tomas from G&S will be attending.

For more information, please visit the Rowan House project page on our website