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    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017 edited
     
    I realise many of us are concerned about privacy and interaction with big government etc so please feel free to ignore.

    A petition has been posted on petition.parliament.uk:

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/190137


    The PassivHaus standard delivers buildings that are healthy, comfortable, and cheap to heat, with heating bills and resulting carbon emissions less than 10% of the average UK building stock. Fuel poverty and climate change can be delivered through high levels of internal comfort.

    More details
    Despite the obvious benefits of the standard, the construction industry often requires more stick than carrot, with full take-up of the standard only happening in places where legislation has been brought about, such as Brussels, Frankfurt and Dún Laoghaire.

    While the Building Regs are based on the minimum acceptable standard the building industry will deliver buildings of low performance, with high energy wastage, poor comfort conditions and contradicting design and living practices.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
  1.  
    I've signed it but I don't hold out much hope that enough people will sign it. Most people don't know what the PH standard is and probably many don't care. Sorry to be negative.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    I like Passivhaus in general but I have some specific concerns:

    1) It's overly specific and biased in some ways.

    2) I'm not clear how “open source” it is. Can you get/distribute the spreadsheet for free, for example? I don't like law based on documents which aren't available at cost price (essentially free online, I'd expect). BSs are bad enough, not sure I can approve of more.

    Consequently, I won't be signing.

    OTOH, what's the alternative? I think the minimum would be to require airtightness testing to a reasonable standard (maybe 1 AC/h or 1 m/h) on all new builds.
  2.  
    I have signed because, without the CfSH (which maybe didn't have everything going for it anyway) there's b----r all else to make people do decent buildings. On the other hand, can you imagine the 'PH' built by some of the builders referred to, in a less than complimentary manner, on here?
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    Ed, it's the interesting thing about petitions. I saw this a week or so ago and didn't sign it because of all the "what ifs" in my head. But then I just thought... fuck it, there's no such thing as perfection, and this is more perfect than what we have now.

    Nick, it's a bit ambiguous, but because the branded version of the word PassivHaus is used, I assumed it meant certified, in which case the builders don't have much choice. And that's where I think much of the power of this would lie - independent regulation.
  3.  
    No gravelld, I did not mean that I thought the *intention* was 'uncertified PH', I just mean that given the 'standard offered by some builders (including volume new-builders) can you imagine the attempts?! There'd be lots of jobs for 'PH trouble-shooters'.

    Nick
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    It won't happen

    Any system that locks a builder into being screwed by a small group of people with a license is a non starter from a government perspective - and realistically any regulatory impact assessment will tend to say that - after all, Part L only requires that we use no more fuel and power than is reasonable

    I've no problem if we make building regs a lot tougher however (and make the means of compliance free like SAP or SBEM), but in the brave new post BREXIT world anything that increases the regulatory burden has no chance of being brought into legislation

    How long before the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) starts to get looked at as "one to ditch" as our buildings certainly aren't ever going to get transported to Europe

    I'll not be signing it

    Regards

    Barney
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    Have any of these petitions actually changed anything?
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    Well other than the death of millions of pixels and a warm feeling for the author and contributors, I suspect not

    Who'd have thought an architect would be promoting passive house building

    Barney
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaHave any of these petitions actually changed anything?
    Consciousness-raising, drip-feed, zeitgeist - I'm signing for such reasons, 100% confident that it won't get enacted in exactly that form.
  4.  
    ''Any system that locks a builder into being screwed by a small group of people with a license is a non starter from a government perspective ''

    Like CfSH? It wasn't a non-starter from the p.o.v of the Labour gov't - Just the other lot. I am not saying it did not have its problems, but we need something, and we somehow need to get people trained/interested enough to want to build well.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017 edited
     
    It is badly written.

    Posted By: gravelldwith heating bills and resulting carbon emissions less than 10% of the average UK building stock. Fuel poverty and climate change can be delivered through high levels of internal comfort.


    (how can carbon emissions be "less than 10% of the UK building stock" ?)

    (whoever would be interested in "delivering fuel poverty" for GN sake ?)

    try again

    gg
  5.  
    Agree it is badly written, and acknowledge that I had not fully read it :(, but I wonder if ''Fuel poverty and climate change can be delivered through high levels of internal comfort.'' is *meant* to mean ''the pursuit of internal comfort in buildings built to 'conventional' standards may lead to fuel poverty and, on aggregate, a contribution to climate change''?
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    The petition is nothing to do with me btw and of course I expect it to not even reach 10k signatures, it's been languishing at the current level for a good while.

    I'm with Tom, nothing's perfect, this is much more perfect than what we have.


    Any system that locks a builder into being screwed by a small group of people with a license


    You're probably right, but only because of the order of those operands.

    Funny how it's ok to screw home owners by a small group of housebuilders.

    Funny how it's ok to screw car drivers by a small group of car manufacturers and light touch regulation.

    Funny how it's ok to screw the public at large by a small group of organisations (you try getting one!) with a banking licence.

    The only way forward for regulation is to make it independent and rigorous.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017
     
    Well I suppose I ought to think about signing it, but it's so far outside the ball park I don't see any point. I'd be happy if the Passivhaus measurement system (i.e. PHPP) was made an acceptable alternative to SAP for building control purposes and even more happy if being a certified passivhaus meant you complied with at least Part L. That would be a more reasonable goal.

    One of the things that irks me is that the PHI hasn't bothered securing any passivhaus trademarks, which means cowboys on here and more seriously elsewhere are free to make use of the terms without fear of any comeback, so I've no idea what branding is being talked about.

    PHI is independent and not publically funded, so it has to make some income somehow. Charging what I feel is a modest fee for PHPP is one of those ways and whilst I would be much happier if it was open source and free to use, I was happy to pay for a copy. Much happier than I was when considering the need to buy BS to fully understand the law in this country (unless you happen to live somewhere enlightened like Cambridgeshire). I'd certainly support any move that required all documents associated with a law to be freely available to all citizens.

    Ed, I'm curious in what ways you find it too specific and biased? It's certainly taken a long while to catch up with PV, for one example.
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: djh(unless you happen to live somewhere enlightened like Cambridgeshire)
    Whats enlightened in Cambridgeshire - have I missed something special in my county?
  6.  
    For the petition - fair enough for what it is, and good on them for putting it on the right website.

    The originator is James Galpin, who is a PH Architect. I had expected it to be a political stunt, so +1 for that too.

    Ferdinand
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017
     
    Posted By: djhOne of the things that irks me is that the PHI hasn't bothered securing any passivhaus trademarks, which means cowboys on here and more seriously elsewhere are free to make use of the terms without fear of any comeback, so I've no idea what branding is being talked about.

    If someone uses the term PassivHaus that is clearly a brand. Not just the camel casing, it's even more obvious in the UK being a non native term. To me, if a brand is used that means the explicit goals of the organisation owning the brand are being used, and that means certification.

    If someone uses the term "passive house", like you, I have no real idea what they are talking about and I agree that would be too wholly.

    But what do you mean by "so far outside the ball park" - do you mean so far away from what we have now?




    I think sometimes guys/gals, in cases like these, we need to be a bit more political and a bit less purist. Yes we can all find reasons not to sign because any smart person can rationalise pretty much anything but you also have to pick your battles. One way is to rally around recognisable brands and PassivHaus may be one such totem. If we don't, we just end up like the Judean People's Front.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017
     
    People's Front of Judea!!
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: djhEd, I'm curious in what ways you find it too specific and biased? It's certainly taken a long while to catch up with PV, for one example.
    Yes, that's what I was thinking of: arbitrarily counting photons which hit windows but not ones which hit PV (or solar thermal) panels. Has it caught up?

    Posted By: gravelldI think sometimes guys/gals, in cases like these,we need to be a bit more political and a bit less purist. … If we don't, we just end up like the Judean People's Front.
    Agreed - I was worrying about the JPF when I wrote that comment above. However, maybe the answer is to take a moment to think about what's really wanted (i.e., what many more people can get behind) rather than jumping in too quickly with something over specific.

    Also, something which can realistically happen. Perhaps better airtightness standards or acceptance of PHPP as an alternative to SAP (isn't it already accepted some places?).
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017
     
    The only way forward for regulation is to make it independent and rigorous.

    I suspect the correct way is light touch and relevant in matters like building energy performance regulation

    CfSH and PHI all have very particular quirks and foibles - we have Building regs to address this - make them more rigorous by all means (and a bit of basic enforcement would help) - lets not make things more complicated than we have to - particularly as we don't build that many new houses - we are focussing on the wrong things in my opinion

    Regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: Ed Davies[...] However, maybe the answer is to take a moment to think about what's really wanted (i.e., what many more people can get behind) rather than jumping in too quickly with something over specific.
    Personally I take a different view. "Thinking" and discussing just leads to too many camels imo. It's what we have now. "Stakeholder" meetings. Views from the energy industry. Views from house building corporations, which are really just proxies for pension funds anyway. "Thinking" (it's not really thinking, thought is cheap in reality) just becomes the excuse for inaction and the precursor to muddled half-way-houses and unintended consequences.

    Better to JFDI, measure and improve iteratively.



    Posted By: barney
    I suspect the correct way is light touch and relevant in matters like building energy performance regulation

    CfSH and PHI all have very particular quirks and foibles - we have Building regs to address this - make them more rigorous by all means (and a bit of basic enforcement would help) - lets not make things more complicated than we have to - particularly as we don't build that many new houses - we are focussing on the wrong things in my opinion
    There is no correct way. It depends what you want to optimise for.

    Broadly speaking I think the target should be kWh/m2 and should work in conjunction with evidence based policy on competing concerns, e.g. ventilation. The types of numbers should be around the Ph level. The important thing is then enforcement.

    The reason is I want to optimise for a well built building stock which we don't have to fix later, because fixing already built stuff costs much much more than building correctly in the first place. This derives productivity benefits for the economy, lower costs for healthcare, and so on. That's what I want to optimise for. These are economically productive ideas, not rentier economics like a commoditised volume house builder churning out crap to support 55 year old newly retirees keep their golf club membership.

    I don't see how this can be that "light touch". Maybe in terms of the science and the engineering - low energy buildings are not *that* complicated in this sense (as ST mentioned above). But I think it will require more work on the implementation and measurement side. Self regulation doesn't work, as evidenced in other markets, including house building.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2017
     
    Well - as a starting point I mentioned not using more fuel or power than is reasonable (in terms of energy policy) and given that the BR's are based on protecting people in and around buildings, BR's also deal with ventilation and water usage/disposal

    None of the above precludes us moving to lower energy, healthy houses, fit for purpose for a reasonable period of time

    But, as we don't build that many (at the moment) - then I'm against moving to what will be a ever increasing level of complexity of compliance to achieve very marginal benefits.

    No doubt the current crop of house builders can do better - I suggest that it will be incremental changes to BR's that will "bring them along" on the journey

    Self regulation works just fine in this respect - the biggest influence will be demands from purchasers rather than anything else - if we spent a fraction of the cost of adopting PassivHaus on every new build, on a bit of basic education then standards would improve markedly

    Like everything else, once the dead hand of Government is involved it degenerates into a farce

    When the majority of the buying public want low energy eco homes, they'll get them - and only energy costs will do that (either directly on householders or indirectly via landlords for tenants) - better labelling ?

    Regards

    Barney
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017 edited
     
    Expecting energy costs to drive energy-saving measures won't work. The way the world's biz model is set up, whereby very many costs (like environmental degradation, ruined community in far-off places) aren't rolled into the selling price, almost everything is getting apparently cheaper incl energy in all its forms, approaching zero-cost as hyper-productivity reveals its exponential effect.

    But despite, or perhaps because of that, there is a counter-effect, that's still in infancy.
    In crudest form, it would be a demand that all those presently-externalised planetary costs be brought onto the balance sheet, which would create a very different cost/incentive structure.
    In fuller form, it would look not at whether individual corporations or disruptive startups fail or survive, thrive or doiminate, but whether life (esp my grandchildren) will thrive on this planet, or die, on a timescale up to 2100.

    Until then, all we can do is consciousness-raising, adversarial campaigning incl support for almost any flaky petition that goes in the right direction, create realities on-the-ground, pressure on govt and officialdom to legislate/regulate (again however flaky/compromised that is). Create a band-wagon.

    Not lose sight of the deepest goal, as per middle para above.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: barneyNo doubt the current crop of house builders can do better - I suggest that it will be incremental changes to BR's that will "bring them along" on the journey

    You talk as if BRs to date are something decided independently. They aren't. They are the result of lobbying. Take a look at the consultations. They make for painful reading.

    Even the BRs that exist aren't stuck to. Have a listen to http://www.houseplanninghelp.com/hph149-can-airtightness-tests-on-developer-homes-be-trusted-with-paul-buckingham-of-sustainable-lifestyles/

    Posted By: barney
    Self regulation works just fine in this respect - the biggest influence will be demands from purchasers rather than anything else - if we spent a fraction of the cost of adopting PassivHaus on every new build, on a bit of basic education then standards would improve markedly

    I agree the key to this is market demand and education.

    But I strongly disagree self regulation is working. It's an absolute train crash resulting in terrible houses being built which we're going to fix later. That's the worst thing for me - we're building houses we're going to have to fix in the future at higher cost. That's debt. The question is are we using the debt responsibly, or is the debt just funding the housebuilders? I think I know the answer.
    • CommentAuthormw116
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017
     
    Posted By: gravelldBroadly speaking I think the target should be kWh/m2 and should work in conjunction with evidence based policy on competing concerns, e.g. ventilation. The types of numbers should be around the Ph level. The important thing is then enforcement.


    Surely it would be better to base it on kWh/occupant - that way if you want to build a bigger home, you have to make it consumately better insulated..
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017
     
    Tom - what does any of that nonsense actually mean in practice

    Gravelld - OK, so terrible by what metric ?

    The market provides what's wanted and that's very different from what's needed

    A Part L, Part F compliant house built today at a reasonable cost is still a reasonably well performing building as an entity - greening the grid makes it more so (as would excess electricity to gas production)

    Looking at planning policy would do far more in terms of "good housing" than locking volume house builders into a cartel of regulation that is incredibly narrow focused

    I appreciate enforcement of BR's is a problem - but that's not the builders fault actually - in the snake and mongoose dance between developers and building control (be that local council or approved inspectors) the latter group will always come off worse as they are not resourced effectively

    In simple terms a move to adopting passive house standards based on a petition instigated by a passive house architect isn't what is required

    Regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017
     
    Posted By: barneyIn simple terms a move to adopting passive house standards based on a petition instigated by a passive house architect isn't what is required


    +1

    On reflection, and trying (hard) to be positive nonetheless, I suspect that the entire thing is actually an attempted advertising gimmick.

    gg
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: barneywhat does any of that nonsense actually mean in practice
    To even ask that, what are you doing on Green Building Forum? Just trying to shave a bit off your gas bill?

    Edit - sorry that sounds like a lecture - GBF is for all sorts - but I do miss its former radical (as in 'getting to the root') nature.
   
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