Friday, 19 December 2014

TSB Monitoring at Knights Place Proves Passivhaus Works

Gale & Snowden Architects have recently finished a 2 year building performance evaluation monitoring exercise at our Passivhaus scheme Knights Place. With funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) we were fortunate enough to carry out, in quite some detail, extensive monitoring of the Passivhaus social housing scheme that we designed almost 5 years ago. This in-depth study has taught us a lot, and we can now confidently say from this level of feedback what does and does not work with a Passivhaus design.  

The monitoring comprised two distinct elements: hard monitoring which records the facts in an objective manner with the use of sensors and equipment, and soft monitoring which involves quality checks of installations and discussions and interviews with tenants and the design team.

Hard Monitoring
  • Main metering and sub metering - heating, lighting, DHW, cooking, ventilation and appliances.
  • Solar thermal system performance monitoring.
  • Performance monitoring of MVHR systems - air flow tests & energy consumption assessment. In addition to the mandatory TSB tests, measurements of temperature and humidity in all four air streams of the ductwork were taken, as well as an additional measurement after the heater battery in the supply air. This provided details of heat exchanger efficiencies at different operating temperatures.
  • Internal comfort monitoring - temperature and humidity monitoring in kitchens, living rooms and main bedrooms. CO2 monitoring in living rooms and main bedrooms.
  • External temperature and relative humidity monitoring.
  • Air permeability and tracer gas tests in accordance with ATTMA: two tests over two winters.
  • Summer time temperature and comfort monitoring to determine comfort conditions during hot periods, and to see how well the mass and super insulated approach performs. This study is beyond the TSB mandatory requirement. 
  • In-situ U-value thermal resistance monitoring of wall construction details using heat flux sensor method and data logger.
  • Infrared thermography survey of the three flats and key thermal elements.

Soft Monitoring
  • Design and construction audit.
  • Design team review of SAP/PHPP and design details & commissioning data for services.
  • Installation check of services & fittings by the team.
  • Building user survey (BUS) questionnaire to all eighteen flats.
  • Interviews and walkthroughs with occupants to determine controls issues, modes of operation, different lifestyle habits, ease of use, fine tuning of energy systems, user guide.
  • Energy audits using DomEARM methodology (domestic energy and reporting method).

The full report can be downloaded from here, or read below:


Another Passivhaus Certified Designer at Gale & Snowden Architects and Engineers

Gale & Snowden’s Chartered Technologist, Giles Boon, has successfully completed the Certified European Passivhaus Designer Course, adding to the number of certified Passivhaus designers working within the practice.  Culminating in a three hour exam, the CEPH Designer course rigorously trains and tests design skills critical to preparing and executing a successful Passivhaus project. 

Giles joined Gale & Snowden in August this year and he is currently working on a number of Passivhaus projects with the integrated design team at G&S.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Business Case for Adapting Buildings to Climate Change

Gale & Snowden Architects and Engineers have been working with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) / Innovate UK to produce a legacy report for recent work undertaken for the Design for Future Climate, Adapting buildings (D4FC) programme which generated a substantial body of evidence for how different buildings exposed to different climate risks can best be adapted for a changing UK climate.

“We need to adapt existing and new buildings to be safe and comfortable in a hotter climate”
The Business Case for Adapting Buildings to Climate Change, page 11

The legacy report analyses the drivers that affect the market for professional building design services to ready buildings for the changing climate. Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports confirm the climate trends that make adaptation important and urgent.

The legacy report from the D4FC programme responds to the Government’s National Adaptation programme and considers adaptation to climate change at the scale of individual buildings. It identifies that the need to have a plan for adapting the UK’s stock of buildings is already urgent.

Building designers have a professional duty to understand the potential implications of climate change, discuss them with clients, and act accordingly. Over time, it seems likely that liabilities will arise for building designers to take reasonable account of future climate change. As a consequence, building designers should at least inform clients about climate change risks, and record the outcome.

Building designers should favour passive adaptation design measures to avoid compromising efforts to mitigate climate change. At the same time, they should also recognise that these might not be sufficient to cope with climate change from the mid-century onwards and more active measures may be required to keep buildings from overheating. 

The concluding section of the report considers how adaptation services might become mainstream, identifying possible market and policy failures and summarising the case for intervention, including by central Government.

David and Jason were expert panel members for the Innovate UK’s legacy report and contributed to both the Client Group and the Building Designers Group.
St. Loyes Extra Care project, Exeter, by Gale & Snowden Architects.

Gale & Snowden Architects and Engineers provide a full 'Design for Future Climate' consultancy service for both existing and new build projects. The integration of a climate change adaption strategy for a development is best undertaken at the outset of the project and can often, for little additional expenditure, ensure that a project is fit for the future without the need for either significant and costly adaption measures or the introduction in the future of energy intensive systems.

Gale & Snowden Climate Change Adaption Diagram for the St. Loyes Extra Care project, Exeter.

Further information on Gale & Snowden's 'Design for Future Climate' consultancy service is available here:
Climate Ready: Designing for Future Climate Scenarios