Blog: Passive House to Building Biology Standards

Blog: Passive House to Building Biology Standards

After years of training, input from various sources, and thought, we are building a Passive House to Building Biology standards ( ), with the collaboration of Tomas Gaertner of se3 design ( ). Tomas is the leading expert of Building Biology in the country and I am very much enjoying his input and expertise.

What is Building Biology? ‘Building Biology is the holistic study of the interrelationships between humans and their man-made environment.  It is the science of creating healthy, life enhancing buildings’

With regard to creating comfortable, healthy and energy-saving homes, we at Urbane Eco have so far concentrated on doing as many energy saving measures on existing buildings. The Green Deal grants towards solid wall insulation was a great inspiration to home owners, especially when they needed new rendering in any case. However this scheme sadly ended in 2015 with the change of government.

So Passive House build has, until this point, seemed like a pursuit of less importance, given the ratio of new builds to existing housing stock. However, many councils are now building some of their house stock to Passive House standards including Bristol City Council, who have won awards for theirs.

What is Passive House (PassivHause)? Passive house is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

As you may know, I am a great fan of Neil May MBE of NBT and his research on breathability in buildings and it is in fact his passion and foresight in this area that has inspired me to do what I do. Sadly Neil passed away recently and, along with the personal loss involved, I see it as a great loss to the building community as he was a true visionary.

Regarding Passive House then, although the ability to be carbon free is of course highly commendable, I am concerned that it should not be at the expense of human health, caused by lack of breathability and the use of toxic materials. Hence we are using Breathing Biology standards as well. It is an exciting project!

So, we are building using these systems: