Call for Horsham council housing to meet Passivhaus energy standard rejected

Horsham District Council has rejected a call to meet the Passivhaus energy efficiency standards in all affordable homes built by its housing company.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 11:32 am
Standings Court off New Road in Horsham was built to Passivhaus standard

Passivhaus is a voluntary standard, producing homes which use very little energy for heating or cooling, though they are more expensive to build.

At a meeting of the full council, Michael Croker (Green, Upper Beeding & Woodmancote) tabled a notice of motion that Horsham District Homes Ltd should meet that standard.

He said: “Horsham District Homes should be building to Passivhaus standards because it will provide affordable, comfortable, future-proof homes for those who can least afford the alternatives.

“It will reduce our future obligations to upgrade council-controlled housing stock to meet central government targets and hopefully will encourage commercial developers to follow suit, driven by the increasing recognition by house purchasers that there is a better way.”

There are only around 1,000 Passivhaus homes in the UK, including several in Standings Court, off New Street, in Horsham.

Tricia Youtan, cabinet member for community matters & well-being, said quality assurance for Passivhaus standard homes was ‘arguably the world’s most rigorous’ – and to achieve it would mean using specialist consultants.

Such expertise would not be cheap and Mrs Youtan said the cost of the houses would be at least 15 per cent higher than usual.

Looking at the energy savings efforts already being explored by Horsham District Homes, Mrs Youtan said the aim was to build homes with an EPC rating of A, rather than the current B rating.

She told the meeting that only one per cent of new homes were built to this energy standard, adding: “This clearly shows that Horsham District Homes is seeking to build to a standard that is above that required by building regulations on new, direct affordable homes.”

The motion was lost by 31 votes to eight with three abstentions.

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