Passivhaus Affiliate

House Planning Help highlights the importance of airtightness in new documentary

House Planning Help showcased their new documentary titled The Future of Housing - and how airtightness can help, which addresses the role of air permeability in the future of sustainable housing.

The informative half hour documentary was premiered on the 4 December, aptly in a Passivhaus building, Mayville Community Centre in London.

Airtightness documentary premierPremier of 'The Future of Housing - and how airtightness can help.' Photo Credit: Ecological Building Systems

While the construction industry is seeing the light, the majority of people are unaware of the impacts of airtight construction. This documentary aims to reach a more mainstream audience and began as a kickstarter project.

I want to focus on airtightness because I believe it is the most unappreciated factor that contributes towards making buildings energy efficient. In fact it took me a year and a half to realise that when it comes to heat loss it plays an even more significant role than insulation! Ben Adam-Smith, House Planning Help


The Future of Housing - and how airtightness can help identifies the symbiotic nature of draught free construction, occupant comfort and energy efficiency, with some interesting interviews and opinions. It can be viewed below:

Some great discussion emerged from the Q&A session. It is apparent that a greater awareness of air permeability in UK construction is needed to help improve building practice.  

More training and education of the UK construction industry is required to create airtightness champions that should be as readily available to the public as plumbers!  This is already beginning to occur, with smaller independent contractors and self-builders who care about the quality of their end products; it is slowly creeping into large mainstream contractors such as Willmott Dixon, who are building to Passivhaus Standard.  

Passivhaus is setting the benchmark for best practice and valuable lessons learned for all.

Chris Herring

Contractors believe they are already building sustainable and adequate homes because they meet building regulations. Steve Turner (HBF) says UK volume house-builders build to very high & exacting energy efficiency standards. This only highlights the necessity for changes in legislation to implement an improved building practice nationwide.

How does the average person know if their new home is being built to an adequate standard was a question that arose? Justin Bere, bere Architects advised that using an experienced certified designer at the very early stages, would help to design airtightness details into the build, and oversee & help the contractors to achieve this, therefore eliminating the performance gap. However, in reality, this is not applicable to the majority of occupants who will not be involved in the design stages. It also highlights another issue; the divergence between the values and interests of land owners & volume home builders who want to deliver profit with a quick turn around, and the occupants who actually have to live in the properties.

Follow more of the issues that were discussed via the twitter feed with #FutureofHousing14. A few are displayed below:

airtightness the future of housing twitterfeed

The documentary provoked delegates to think about some really interesting issues. Ben's podcast series has frequently focussed on the Passivhaus Standard because he believes it offers a common sense approach to making buildings more efficient, more comfortable and cheaper to run. 

It seems crystal clear to me that I need to build my new house to passivhaus standard. 

Ben Adam-Smith, House Planning Help


Further Information:

Previous PHT story – 3 May 2014: Funding appeal for Airtightness documentary.

The Future of Housing - and how airtightness can help


11th December 2014

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