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  • Writer's pictureLaurence Becker

The Sheds: Crafting the UK's First Certified Passivhaus Premium House


The Sheds: Crafting the UK's First Certified Passivhaus Premium House
The Sheds: Crafting the UK's First Certified Passivhaus Premium House - Image credit: Fremantle

In the picturesque North Cotswolds, where rolling hills meet open skies, environmental consultant Duncan and solicitor Liz embarked on a grand vision—to build not just a house but the UK's first certified Passivhaus Premium. This isn't just a home; it's a testament to energy efficiency and pushing the boundaries of what's possible.


The journey began with a plot of land with planning permission for a large family house. The foundations were laid in the principles of a Passivhaus—thermally efficient, airtight, and energy-efficient. Passing the airtightness test with flying colours, even with the innovative addition of an automatic cat flap, set the stage for what would become a pioneering project.


The large roofs became not just architectural elements but pivotal players in the sustainable strategy. The initial plan to stack the roof with solar panels evolved into a quest for solar fabric, taking Duncan to Tallinn, Estonia, for glass and metal roof tiles that proved to be both sustainable and cost-effective. The house was to become a miniature power station, directing energy not only to power the home but also the car and back to the national grid.


Enter Passivhaus Premium, a realm where a home must generate four times the energy it consumes. The Sheds project embraced this challenge with gusto. With a design cut into the hill using innovative techniques like shallow polystyrene trays filled with concrete, a basement steel frame, and structural insulated timber panels, the house took shape. Three-pitched roofs, glulam portal frames, and 5.5m lofty ceilings became integral to the design, making it a challenging yet ambitious endeavour.


The grand vision of The Sheds project became a reality—a home that not only has negative running costs but exports more power than it consumes. However, with this success comes a challenge. The current UK electricity grid has a cap on the amount of electricity that can be sold back. Despite generating enough power to support around four three-bedroom houses, restrictions limit it to around two and a half. Duncan sheds light on the need for grid upgrades to fully harness the potential of houses like The Sheds—a testament to the project's impact beyond its walls.


As The Sheds project continues its journey towards certification, it stands not just as a home but as a pioneering force, pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and setting the stage for a sustainable future. The journey may have its challenges, delays, and budget considerations, but as Kevin aptly puts it, "Holy, moly, this space is a triumph."




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