Sustainable Community Housing that makes a difference
In these times of housing crisis for most developing regions, there is also a similar challenge to provide affordable housing in the developed countries as the affordability gap stretches first time buyers or low income families.
So it is a welcome site to see a public body take the lead to provide new housing to meet this need and then inspiring for this housing to meet sustainable standards.
Norwich City Council in the UK, deserves this recognition fo their new estate, called Goldsmith Street, which is made up of almost 100 ultra low-energy homes for the Community.
The Architects designed this new community to “Passivhaus” standards providing,
“a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling" (Passivhaus Trust)
This enacting standard detail design and construction delivers around a 75% reduction in space heating needs and with that performance lower annual energy costs for the households. Through the use of passive solar design, the walls of the buildings are increased in thickness acting to absorb the energy from the sun for slow release in to the property when temperatures cool. The orientation and relationship between buildings, that forms the streetscape, optimizes the exposure of the sun to each frontage, reducing shadows.
In addition the design still manages to create community with the urban design principles it uses. To the read of the properties are secure play spaces off shared landscape areas for the community to use and socialize. Furthermore each property can be personalized with the use of colour in the entrances and have dedicated private space with balconies.
To achieve all of this for affordable housing shows it can and should be done all of the time. Even still the commitment of the Council and the Architects should be commended for a job well done!
What is Passivhaus design? "Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany." "Passivhaus buildings achieve a 75% reduction in space heating requirements, compared to standard practice for UK new build. The Passivhaus standard therefore gives a robust method to help the industry achieve the 80% carbon reductions that are set as a legislative target for the UK Government. Passivhaus also applies to retrofit projects, achieving similar savings in space heating requirements." "Evidence and feedback to date shows that Passivhaus buildings are performing to standard, which is crucial, given that the discrepancy between design aspiration and as-built performance for many new buildings in the UK can be as much as 50-100%."