Fordham’s house in Camden has been designed by London-based architect Justin Bere. The three-bedroom home, which Fordham shares with a carer and the carer’s husband, meets the German ultra-low-energy standard, Passivhaus (or Passive House), developed in the early 1990s, in which Bere is a specialist. Buildings constructed to the Passivhaus standard have reduced energy bills – typically 90 per cent lower than a conventional build – while maintaining a comfortable temperature and high air quality. They achieve this through a combination of design features: they have a simple shape and are positioned to make use of the sun’s winter heat. They are super-insulated and airtight against winter draughts. Finally, a ventilation system warms incoming cold air by harnessing waste heat from cooking, fridges and computers, as well as occupants: a heat source that Fordham calls “the metabolism of the house”. Tens of thousands of homes worldwide are built to the Passivhaus standard. The UK has a few hundred. Most Passivhaus standard homes in the UK need a small supplementary heater to maintain the accepted comfort standard of 21 degrees Celsius during winter. Fordham’s home has one small – 2kW – air heater, about the same power consumption as a small radiator, but he expects not to need it.
FT 21st June 2019 read more »