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The future of housebuilding? Passivhaus and the UK market

25 May 2016

Cardiff Business School’s Executive Education Breakfast Briefing series welcomed Welsh School of Architecture teacher, Ms Angela Ruiz del Portal, on Thursday 19 May 2016.

Ms Ruiz del Portal delivered a presentation, entitled Passivhaus – Towards Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, which was sponsored by leading property consultancy Bruton Knowles.

An audience of more than 40 people were in attendance, made up of both public and private sector representatives’ including commercial housebuilders, property consultants and Welsh policymakers.

Ms Ruiz del Portal, an architect who teaches on the MSc in Sustainable Design, introduced the Passivhaus standard. Passivhaus is one of the fastest growing low energy building standards in the world designed to deliver outstanding thermal comfort and energy efficiency.

Passivhaus is not a specific design or construction system but instead is a fundamental strategy that enables a building to meet a high performance standard. Ms Ruiz del Portal outlined the ways in which it aided energy efficiency, structural longevity and the health benefits it could deliver in helping to reduce the effects of mould and condensation.

Given the EU directives and low carbon ambitions of the Welsh and UK government, new building methods and approaches are vital to delivering future housing stock that is fit for purpose as well as exploring ways to retrofit existing stock.

Following Ms Ruiz del Portal’s presentation, the audience engaged in a lively and thought provoking Q&A. Debate centred around the viability of the Passivhaus model for adoption by the commercial sector given the perceived high capital costs. While the ambition for zero carbon housing was commended there was a sense that taxation, regulation and wider policy needed to catch up.

Registration is now open for the next Cardiff Breakfast Briefing which will be held on Thursday 23 June. Director of Women Adding Value to the Economy (WAVE) programme, will discuss how public sector employers were supported through WAVE to make long-lasting change to workforce organisation to prevent gender pay gaps from recurring in each generation.  Please register here or email Linda Hellard to reserve your place.

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