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Passivhaus: Exeter City Council leading by example

Passivhaus: Exeter City Council leading by example

As Exeter has the highest concentration of climate scientists in the world, being the home of the Met Office, it would be remiss of the Council not to incorporate all the latest climate change research in their new building design. Integrating climate scientists alongside the Design Team, Building Biologist and Permaculture Landscape Designers, all new homes and civic buildings have been designed to be resilient to climate change to 2080 and beyond. This is achieved by modelling the building designs through a predicative Prometheus Weather File programme; enabling all new buildings to be comfortable for occupation and use day in day out for at least the next 60 years, irrespective of weather conditions.

Typically for the UK this means mitigating against the risks of over-heating and the consequential future needs of installing air conditioning (and the resultant healthand energy costs of this). It also means designing resilience to withstand greater storm and rainwater downpour events.

Delivering exemplar buildings has been an evolutionary process for the City Council. Starting small and building confidence has been critical to scale up the Council’s ambitions. The early developments were some of the first in the UK and came with a cost premium before the supply chain for building products and components evolved to what it is today in the UK. Project Teams have needed to skill up on how to cost effectively deliver to these stringent standards including engaging and training contractors and optimising procurement processes by establishing a specific contractors framework (open to all public bodies).

The journey to deliver exemplar buildings has been challenging, the Council has pushed beyond the boundaries of expectation in the UK but the outcomes have exceeded our aspirations and set a new benchmark for what the City expects. The learning continues as the developments roll out and the scale of projects increases. This year the Council is embarking on its most ambitious programme with the formation of a new Council Owned Development Company, Exeter City Living, to upscale the pace of development and offer a wider tenure of exemplar homes including open market homes and market rent. It will also be commencing the construction of its new Leisure Centre, St Sidwell’s Point and Extra Care Village, St Loyes, both of which will be UK firsts.

Exeter may have been undertaking a quiet revolution to set the bar of quality development but its time has come to speak up and challenge others to join their approach and make a difference.

For more information on Passivhaus, please contact Head of APSE Energy Phil Brennan on pbrennan@apse.org.uk

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Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

 

 

 

 

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