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Title: Passivhaus in the UK : the challenges of an emerging market : a case study of innovation using mixed methods research
Author: Lynch, H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 4912
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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In 2006 the UK government announced policy intentions and introduced associated building design standards and up-dated Building Regulations for all new housing to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2019. Since this time the UK build standard for ‘zero carbon’ compliance for housing is the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and the pre-existing, but evolving, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the standard for non-domestic buildings. These standards have been developed by the UK government in conjunction with BRE and other industry consultants to allow building designers to introduce incremental changes to the energy design performance of their buildings. These include for the use of higher levels of insulation (leading towards super insulated fabric design), the use of on-site renewable energy technologies and eventually ‘allowable’ off-site low energy and renewable energy technology solutions to achieve ‘zero carbon’ buildings. Since the introduction of these policy intentions and standards, the UK building design and construction industry has debated both their validity and the actual definition of ‘zero carbon’, with some believing that a ‘fabric first’ approach to housing and building design using standards such as the German Passivhaus to be a more effective and simpler way to deliver ‘zero carbon’ new buildings in the UK. Despite the fact that many of the technologies leading to the development of the first super-insulated house designs and eventually the Passivhaus standard originated in the USA and UK, (culminating in the construction of a number of exemplar super-insulated homes in these countries from the 1970’s), the Passivhaus standard is currently less well known, accepted or understood in the UK than in Norhern Europe. The technology is however beginning to gain credence with a small but growing number of early adopters in the UK. With a focus on these early Passivhaus adopters, this thesis seeks to identify barriers to the uptake of the Passivhaus standard at the time of this research. The research has been conducted using social science mixed methods research, including for the use of thepsychometric assessment tool Q-methodology to assess the opinions of early Passivhaus adopters. The broad conclusions from this research are that barriers are cultural and linked to both social and technological constraints. These include for understanding of and installation of Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR), which is a technology intrinsic to the Passivhaus standard, but also levels of construction industry skills training and education and existing legislation and processes in the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available