I have been awarded a 2016 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to learn from international examples how Passivhaus, the rigorous design and construction standard, can be elevated from daunting to desirable here in the UK.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) is an organisation that funds “British citizens to investigate inspiring practice in other countries, and return with innovative ideas for the benefit of people across the UK”. I have been awarded a Fellowship within the category New Approaches to Affordable Housing – it is my aim to make Passivhaus the standard of choice for affordable housing.
As long as architects, contractors and developers remain daunted by the criteria, affordable Passivhaus homes will continue to be out of reach. Other countries have overcome these problems – I want to understand how and bring that knowledge back to the UK. I will aim to meet with developers, contractors, policy-makers and thought-leaders in Germany, Ireland and the USA, where Passivhaus has been (or is in the process of being) adopted on a large scale.
I will keep an update of my research on this blog and after my travels I will write a Fellowship Report, sharing my findings with those influential in the construction industry. I hope that the long-term impact will be that more people in the UK can afford to live in highly sustainable and healthy homes.
I want to extend a huge thank you to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the National Housing Federation for granting me the opportunity to become a Churchill Fellow. I would urge anyone interested in pursuing an international research project to apply for a Fellowship – you’ve nothing to lose, and potentially so much to gain.