Mon Aug 2022

The Development & Regeneration Series – A Round Table


Written by:
Alex Miller,
Practice Director

In our latest virtual round table discussion, Panoramic Associates’ Lead Principal Consultant Alex Miller invited three guest speakers and attendees to discuss ‘The comparisons between Passive House and Retrofitting’.

Invited to the session was Emma Osmundsen (Managing Director of Exeter Living), Chris Brown (Assistant Director Housing Development and Regeneration at Somerset West and Taunton Council), and James Turner (Associate Director of Mikhail Richards).

We invited Emma Osmundsen (Managing Director of Exeter Living) to our round table discussion to talk about Exeter Living’s triple bottom line approach – people profit and the planet. Exeter Living have adopted Passive House (or Passivhaus) standards across all their buildings, which are now climate ready as a result of working with scientists from Exeter University. They have adopted these standards to eradicate poor property, and currently they have delivered 200 certified Passive House’ with a further 1000 homes for private sale, 50% will be Council stock, and 25% build to rent.

Emma made us aware that Passive House is much more than an energy standard, as it also provides comfort for users as well as being the most hygienic option. Despite the plethora of advantages, further discussion revealed the challenges of Passive House which include procurement, construction strategies, and overcoming stereotypical points of view.
Chris Brown (Assistant Director Housing Development and Regeneration – Somerset West and Taunton Council) then examined a slightly contrasting point of view by discussing Somerset West and Taunton Council’s progress on low carbon new build & retrofit. The key difference is around air tightness, and he went on to discuss how their pipeline has moved forward based on their model.

By promoting a fabric-first approach to delivering CO2 reduction, Chris found that the customer engagement was positive, which ensures that the Council’s housing is affordable in line with the HRA business plan. Somerset West and Taunton Council are aiming to deliver 400 units of low carbon per year. The main challenges they have faced are in communicating the benefits to leaseholders. The Council measure success based on aligning their outcomes to their capital programme, maximising SHDF and grants and ensuring homes are insulated to prevent fuel poverty.

Our final guest James Turner (Associate Director of Mikhail Richards) helped to outline what is important to Mikhail Richards when it comes to building housing whilst giving his perspective from another point of view. James described the performance gap of the buildings, from certified Passive House standards to other types of housing development. Talking through what lessons they have learnt after designing and delivering zero carbon homes, which he shared towards the end of the talk.

James recommended to invest initially as it will save time and money in the long term, and making sure to get the master plan right (which ensures the process is carried out correctly and doesn’t cost the earth) to balance quality and upfront build cost for the construction materials.

It was helpful for all the attendees to share their views on Passive House and Retrofitting and how they are progressing their schemes. It was also an environment to share innovative ideas that can be implemented in their respected councils/ working practice.

Watch the meetup below.

We, at Panoramic Associates, thoroughly enjoy getting insights into our specialist market sectors, other organisations and perspectives. We run these events to build our collective knowledge and provide opportunities to create a network of like-minded individuals.

If you have any suggestions on future topics for our next event or would be interested in attending, please contact Alex at [email protected]

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