A summary of the minutes taken at the meeting on 6th January 2014.

Initially, we were given a presentation by Jonathan Hines (Architype & Archihaus, Hereford & London). He covered the following points: Housing & education, Passive House and Life-enhancing design. The visuals included examples of good design, including 7-8 year old primary school, with excellent light, ventilation etc. and a recent Passive House school. His talk showed that it does not cost more if everything is built into the design in the first place.


A relevant example of this was Spring Hill (Stroud): a co-housing, resident led development of 35 units. High density, car parking concentrated in 1 or 2 places and including a community house with kitchen etc. Gardens open, community feel. This project was self-funded, timber construction & clad. When properties are sold, the buyer also buys into the management company. It is a pedestrians only development.


The second example was Archihaus: a new company set up to develop under Passivhaus standards. Its emphasis is quality & sustainability in housing, in contrast to standard developers of poor quality and uninspiring. They plan to develop at a similar price to standard developments.  Their Strategy – flexible, spacious, high quality designed to passive house standards- *Re-think the site with a sense of space *Re-think construction – finished panels built in a factory.


The third and final example was The Kingstone (Herefordshire) – 20 acre site with 150 houses (much less than standard developer would put in this sized field) They have a scattered village concept, within the village. The orientation of all houses within 15 degrees of south and engaged with community – consultation, workshops etc. Cycle paths, allotments, winding lanes, sustainable rain water drainage within the site, native hedgerows and about 6 acres of green space within the site - Outdoor space including orchards (currently looking at options for how to manage outdoor spaces).


Design of houses:

Wide to south, less deep front to back

Better design for contemporary living + rooms facing south

Good daylight

Form of house very simple

Factory manufacture

Standardisation of panels

Herefordshire vernacular for finishes, simple materials in ordered plan


Kingstone site specifications:


14 live work units + 3 commercial units + co-housing scheme within a corner of the site

S106 properties are all scattered within the site (35%)


·         Passivehaus

·         Energy standard

·         Guaranteed quality of construction

·         Comfort of living

·         15KWH /m2 of building /year

·         u value standards

·         Air tightness standard 0.6 air changes per hour

·         Thermal bridging eliminated

·         Mechanical Ventilation system keeps in 90% of heat

·         Model design processed through passive house modelling tool

·         Construction monitored & assessed by certifier

·         Land purchased at lower price than standard developer purchase price.

·         Target build cost £1250/ m2 overall.

·         Heating – gas backup on a solar water system

·         Sizes – 3 bed 82-90 m2 internal (sale approx. £170-180K)

·         Construction system is currently being investigated:

·         2 panel, or complete wrap insulation

·         I-beams (particularly for schools)

·         Warmcell insulation

·         Panel – 300-350mm

·         u- values 0.15

·         Windows u-values 0.8 including frames

·         very small gas boiler requirement

·         Primary energy 120 KWH/ m2 of building per year


Three questions to consider on the Presteigne development:


·         What are priorities?

·         Persuade developer (eg MWH) to accept these priorities

·         Re-think the following:

Shape of site

Bit more land

Group parking

Shared surfaces


Village green in centre


Get away from using a ‘standard response’ to a development.

Transit van sized vehicle can get to all of site – eg ambulances. Removal vans –

everything gets trolleyed.

Turning head at corner rather than at end

Get planners on board with a more creative scheme.



The second presentation was given by Simon Tucker (Architectural research, ecological buildings, formerly at CAT, trained as Passivhaus designer/ assessor, Cardiff University)


His advice was that projects tend to get best results from people who just ask questions – into planning process. Sustainable planning needs to address the following:


·         Ecology

·         Materials

·         Carbon & Energy

·         Social aspects

·         Economics

·         Site layout:

·         Context Public/private/shared/communal space

·         Amenity/ mixed use

·         Energy

·         Food/ gardens

·         Vehicles (relationship of inhabitants to cars, parking, private/public spaces)

  Design guidelines:

 CABE (official guidelines)

·         Possible management / ownership models

·         Design Patterns (eg Christopher Alexander)

·         What is being added to the town?

·         Energy & Carbon:

Orientation/ solar gains

Building geometry & type

Thermal insulation & air tightness

Building systems & energy

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