Architect’s 1920s Passivhaus-inspired Haven - Garlic Row

Architect’s 1920s Passivhaus-inspired Haven – Garlic Row

Sun 17 Sep 2023, – Tue 3 Oct 2023, Various

Meet your host, Olly

Olly, an Architect and Certified Passivhaus Designer, set out to transform this once awkward & draughty 1920s gas-fired home into a delightful passivhaus-inspired haven suited to modern living. By carrying out energy modelling of the house and carefully sequencing the work to devise a step-by-step plan, Olly has been able to ensure that each stage of work is completed to a high standard, and where possible, has done much of the work himself. With phase 1 completed, Olly already feels much happier and healthier living in this renewed space and has calculated that his retrofit has resulted in a reduction of 89% Co2 emissions.

Olly says: “I wanted to ‘live my values’ with respect to the climate emergency.  As an Architect I wanted to get hands on with a project and I have really enjoyed the DIY aspects. I wanted to put the theory into practice and demonstrate to myself and others around me the benefits to the environment and to human health of the Passivhaus approach.”

Photos by Oliver Cooper

Key Features of this home

  • Whole-house retrofit using Passivhaus principles, giving 89% reduction in carbon emissions
  • Woodfibre internal wall insulation
  • Deep loft insulation and deep suspended floor insulation
  • New roofing with integrated Solar PV and extended eaves
  • Whole house MVHR (DIY) with 1.25 m³/(h·m²)@50Pa airtightness 
  • 5kW output Air Source Heat Pump with measured seasonal COP of 4.
  • Triple glazing with bolts fitted for future external shading 
  • Improved layout with new staircase and open-able rooflight

Our hosts top tips 

  • Consider the sequencing of the interventions you make and group items together to minimise cost/disruption/waste.
  • Wherever possible, use a professional retrofit plan based on a simple energy model of your house.
  • Ensure that the design considers ait-tightness and ventilation hand-in-hand.
  • To maximise Co2 reduction plan for a heat pump to be part of your retrofit.


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