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Portsmouth City Council have unveiled new plans for a record number of council homes to meet the ultra-energy efficient Passive House Standard. Passive House is an internationally recognised low energy building standard that is increasingly becoming the benchmark for highly efficient buildings. The standard goes far beyond current government building regulations, which is the minimum energy efficiency standards to which most homes in the UK are built. The council will also apply further design criteria, such as solar PV, low-carbon water heating and ecological uplift to improve the surrounding area.

The plans, which are initially being piloted at Wecock Farm and Strouden Court, will see energy usage slashed thanks to building designs adhering to rigorous comfort standards and ensuring they’re free from draughts, condensation, and excessive overheating. As a result of these measures, residents will enjoy a dramatic reduction in their energy bills.

Councillor Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said: ‘We are facing a climate emergency and this is the latest way in which our city and this council is dealing with it.

“We know these principles can work – Britain’s biggest use of them was in refurbishing Wilmcote House in Somerstown after all. But now we want them working in new homes too.

“However, it cannot be just green design. That is why these schemes will explore other aspects of green living such as providing renewable energy and why trialling it rather than blundering headlong without thinking is the right thing to do.

“There is no Planet B. This council is already doing a lot to achieve that. We owe it to future generations to succeed.”

In November 2020, the government outlined a “10 point plan for a green industrial revolution” which included the aim of creating 50,000 jobs in the low-carbon-sector by 2030. The council plan to train three in-house architects in Passive House accreditation, with the view of producing highly accurate analysis and detailed modelling of developments proposed. The council also hope that use of these advanced standards and technologies will aid the development of a network of green skills in the Hampshire area.

As well as the Passive House standard itself, to ensure that the properties get the best possible environmental credentials, the council will also incorporate additional design requirements. As well as other measures, these will also include the incorporation of solar panels, low carbon heating options and measures designed to improve the ecology of the developments.

Ongoing monitoring, reporting and evaluation of the pilot will be conducted to help form design and technical decisions for future council housing developments for Portsmouth City Council.

The plans will be considered at a housing meeting on Monday 8 March 2021.