Passivhaus Affiliate

Nailsea Passivhaus: a flagship for future homes?

Aiming to set precedent for future new builds across North Somerset, The Uplands in Nailsea, designed by PHT members Mikhail Riches, has been given the go-ahead to deliver 52 new homes aiming for Passivhaus certification. In response to the local demand for housing, the landscape-led Passivhaus scheme seeks to tread lightly, providing a respectful response to the ecologically-rich setting, whilst prioritising the alleviation of the climate crisis.

The Uplands, Nailsea. Image Credit: Mikhail Riches

More than two-thirds of local councils having now declared a climate emergency and are seeking housing solutions to meet net-zero targets, whilst providing affordable and high-quality homes. Drawing on the success of Goldsmith Street, PHT members Mikhail Riches, alongside PHT Patrons Greengauge, have been appointed to design The Uplands Passivhaus development in Nailsea, proposing a collection of semi-detached and terraced houses ranging from one to two-and-a-half storeys. The scheme will provide 30% affordable housing, and market sale housing, as well as accessible and adaptable homes for residents with disabilities.


Key Stats

Start Date: 2022

Completion Date: 2024

Project Stage: Planning approved

Units: 52

Construction: Panelised timber frame

The Uplands, Nailsea. Image credit: Mikhail Riches


With the housing demand booming, as well as the recent increase in people moving out of urban areas, the UK is seeing a rise in new build developments across rural settings, often causing concern for ecologically sensitive areas. Located amongst a protected woodland, The Uplands Passivhaus development intends to sympathetically merge suburban and rural sites whilst enhancing natural surroundings without compromising on the homes affordability, comfort, & climate target commitments. 


The Uplands, Nailsea. Image credit: Mikhail Riches


The site will retain over 50% of the existing green space and will feature community gardens, orchards, foraging paths and ecological corridors to not only enhance the wildlife, but also to unify the community with the immediate rural landscape as well as the surrounding area. The scheme intends to initiate a replicable model which maximises the potential to drive further socially and environmentally conscious developments across North Somerset in the future. 


The Uplands, Nailsea. Image credit: Mikhail Riches

The Uplands is strategically arranged to prioritise a south-facing orientation for maximum solar gain in winter, providing natural light and reducing unnecessary energy usage. Integrated solar sharing is crucial to the design and ensuring summer comfort during the warmer months.


Predicted Energy Performance

Airtightness (≤0.6ACH@50pascals)

0.6 ACH

Thermal Energy Demand (≤15kWh/m².yr)

15 kWh/m².yr

Thermal Energy Load (≤10W/m²)

9.2 W/m²

Primary E Demand (≤120kWh/m².yr)

135 kWh/m².yr


Alongside the optimisation of the orientation and site massing, the design follows a fabric and efficiency-first approach by prioritising the building envelope before applying additional energy generation. 

With increased insulation and quality detailing, the homes will suffer from no draughts or cold spots - maintaining internal comfort levels with little to no heating or cooling. This also means that less energy will be generated to heat the homes therefore reducing energy bills for occupants.

Providing efficient ventilation throughout the day and night, the MVHR system will provide optimum indoor air quality 24/7. Additionally, the homes include solar photovoltaics as well as an air source heat pump for heating if required and energy use for lighting and appliances.



Wall: Render/ stone

U-value: 0.11 W/(m2K)

Floor: Concrete

U-value: 0.067 W/(m2K)

Roof: Clay pantiles

U-value: 0.091 W/(m2K)

The Uplands, Nailsea. Image credit: Mikhail Riches


As a nod to the heritage of the existing historical town, as well as the agricultural small holdings to the south of the site, the homes are designed using materials chosen for their durability, efficiency, and integration with the sites context.


Key team

Client: North Somerset Council

Architect: Mikhail Riches

MEP Consultant: Greengauge

Environmental Consultants: Johns Associates, Seed, Vectos

Structural Engineer: Momentum

Passivhaus Certifier: Etude

The Uplands, Image credit: Mikhail Riches


The Commissioning Plan will look to find a development partner through an open procurement process. We will prioritise a developer that embraces the quality and ethos of the development plans, whilst at the same time bringing the investment and expertise to deliver the site promptly and efficiently.

 Mark Canniford, Executive Member for Placemaking & Economy, North Somerset Council


The Uplands development endeavours to respond to present and future environmental, social and economic issues, recognising Passivhaus as a future-proof solution to the increasing housing demand in the context of the climate emergency. As a flagship project for North Somerset, we look forward to following the projects progress, and how it paves the way for future developments on the path to net-zero at scale.


Further information

The Uplands, Nailsea

Passivhaus Social Housing

Previous PHT story: Social Housing Championing Passivhaus at scale - 12 May 2021

Passivhaus Social Housing: Maximising benefits, minimising costs

Net Zero Carbon Toolkit

A Developer's Guide to Passivhaus Buildings

23rd August 2021

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