On Wednesday this week, I travelled to beautiful Snowdonia in North Wales to present ideas to a group of housing associations and other interested parties including planners, developers and contractors. It’s once again exciting to connect with a community that strongly recognises the opportunity, as well as the need, to convert existing and build new extremely low-energy, warm and comfortable passivhaus homes using local resources. We all shared a real passion for holistic thinking, protection of this beautiful environment and sensitive and sustainable use of local resources.
On Friday this week I had a long and inspiring conversation with the planning department of a council in a part of the South West of England that intends to help its community build passivhaus homes by providing free land in return for exemplary prototypes. A new vision of a sustainable economy seems to be springing up in pockets around the UK, especially in Wales, Scotland and the South West of England. This vision often utilises local forestry products as a truly renewable construction resource that has the potential to breathe life into a rural community and create new skilled jobs in timber construction and stimulate others in passivhaus product manufacturing. These useful jobs, creating new homes and retrofitting existing ones, earn local money and invest it back for the sake of the community and for the environment. The people most vulnerable to poor housing and high fuel costs may be the elderly and early projects might concentrate on giving our seniors the opportunity to retire comfortably in such homes at the same time as having the satisfaction in knowing that they are creating a wise legacy for the future.
The whole team at bere:architects are also passionate about helping people to achieve greater affordability for high quality homes by means of assisted self-build. This utilises the skills of specialists to provide draught-free and water-tight, warm homes with the self-builder providing foundations and finishing works. The hope is that the affordability of the package, combined with bere:architects’ knowledge and experience in building low cost passivhaus homes, will motivate groups and individuals to build highly efficient and comfortable homes of their own.