The news that Architype, fed up with developers’ lack of interest in Passivhaus, are to build homes themselves is not only a very interesting development but also, we think, a very smart idea. Developers are in the business to turn a profit, and if makes more financial sense for them to build to lower energy efficiency standards then that’s the most obvious course of action for them. It means that the new-build housing market is dictated by cost cutting and maximum cost efficiency rather than thinking about the bigger picture, the future or the end user. But for multiple reasons; for the sake of the environment, for better living environments, to alleviate fuel poverty both now, and in the future, we should be building to the highest standards possible.
The demand for Passivhaus (or at least code 6) needs to be there from the end user to encourage developers to build to that standard, but clearly it isn’t yet and so why developers won’t cater to a demand that is not yet high enough. Does this make the situation is a bit chicken and egg? There is after all, in the South East in particular, a housing shortage and so prospective homeowners will buy what’s available and unless they are buying off-plan and putting in demands for Passivhaus to the developer, that desire may not be filtering through.
There is also an awareness problem with Passivhaus in that it’s not yet big enough in the public consciousness – homeowners won’t demand what they’re unaware of.
By taking ownership of the problem Architype are not only creating a new revenue stream for themselves but are doing everyone involved in Passivhaus a favour by creating both awareness and availability of Passivhaus homes.