We know a bit about sort out the best of the best from just the, well, best. The Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme does this, skimming off the top percentile in energy performance and awarding the blue logo.
But how do you judge the best of the best of the best? This was the conundrum facing the judges of the first ever Passivhaus Awards. This is not just the upper percentile; there are only 30,000 or so Passivhaus buildings on earth at this point.
It’s all about highly stringent building energy standards involving extreme airtightness, thermal performance and mechanical ventilation to the point that some buildings built this way only cite a heated towel rail as their means of conventional heating (thanks to Passivhaus.org.uk for that killer final point.)
The awards were judged on criteria above on beyond the obvious really high energy efficiency and heat recovery. Cost per metre squared, the narrative of producing the building, and most importantly, feedback from the people living in or using them were considered in the judging.
So who scooped the prizes? Well, of most interest to the domestic energy efficiency sector, the architects Parsons + Whittley were victorious for a 14-house, £1.7million project in Wimbish, Essex. Clearly Passivhaus is the only way if you want to do things properly…
Back to sober and serious, you can view a presentation on the finer detail of this project right here.
The other winners were a school in Wolverhampton designed by Architype and an ambitious project by Bere Architects that took on the retrofit of the 120 year-old Mayville Community Centre to Passivhaus standard through extensive fabric improvements and triple-glazing.
Architects, often being forward-thinking times seeing the next curve in developments concerning the places we live, work and play, certainly seem to be seeing Passivhaus as a logical area of investment. There are scores of members signed up to the Passivhaus Trust – the guys who run these awards. You can imagine they’re all scheming on how to produce the best of the best of the best just in time for 2013’s ceremonials.