House Planning Help Podcast (general)

We re-run an interview from 2014 with Stephen Gurney, who explains what causes poor airtightness test results and how they could have been avoided.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: Encore_episode_-_Stephen_Gurney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm UTC

We re-run an interview from 2013 with Sarah Susanka, author of the Not So Big House. 

Check out the show notes for this podcast.

Direct download: Encore_episode_-_Sarah_Susanka.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29pm UTC

We re-run an interview from 2012 with the co-founder of the Passivhaus standard, Dr Wolfgang Feist.

Direct download: Encore_episode_-_Dr_Feist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12pm UTC

Mike Coe and his partner Lizzie created one of the UK’s most energy efficient homes. Now they’re looking to sell and start a new project elsewhere, they’re finding that they will have made a loss. Mike discusses why that might be, and whether it will change the way he thinks about his next self build.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH152.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:54pm UTC

We are currently following the progress of Buckinghamshire Passivhaus with video updates in The Hub. In order to provide some background to the project, we spoke to its architect, Janet Cotterell, about the reasons behind her clients decision to completely rebuild the house, rather than follow their original plans of refurbishing it to Passivhaus standard.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH151.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48pm UTC

We have been following Alex Baines’ Long Barrow Passivhaus self build project in previous podcast and Hub episodes. This time we catch up with him to use his experience of working in the renewables industry, together with his current role as a Passivhaus consultant, to understand how renewables and a fabric first approach can be balanced when building your own energy efficient house. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH150.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm UTC

Until fairly recently Paul Buckingham was carrying out airtightness tests on volume built houses. He explains how his role was to make the house pass the test, not about making the house energy efficient.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH149.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm UTC

Dean Scott and his wife Hannah have never found anywhere they liked enough to buy and have long had a dream to self build instead. With the release of plots at the Graven Hill development in Oxfordshire, they are now looking to start the process and get building!

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:49pm UTC

As part of Ben Adam-Smith's video work, podcasts and meeting with other self builders, he is often asked questions about the Passivhaus standard that he doesn't know how to answer. He recently took the opportunity to put those questions to Elrond Burrell, as well as finding out about Elrond’s future plans as he gets ready to move back to New Zealand. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH147.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm UTC

It can be difficult to know who to approach at your local authority, other than the planning department, if you’re looking to self build. And if you get a knockback where do you take it from there? Emma Osmundsen from Exeter City Council explains who you should be talking to and how working co-operatively and collaboratively could help with your plans to self build.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH146.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm UTC

Building a 94m² Passivhaus with no south-facing glazing, on an infill plot in a conservation area posed many challenges! However architect Bernard Tulken’s Lansdowne Drive Passivhaus won a 2016 UK Passivhaus Trust Award. In this case study he talks us through the constraints and decision making involved.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm UTC

Three self builders explain their next steps after struggling to find land upon which to build their new homes.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21pm UTC

Ben Adam-Smith reviews the key decisions that may have led to failing to build an energy-efficient home within his desired 4-year timeframe.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24pm UTC

Marine Sanchez is a building physics engineer and a Passivhaus Designer. She helps explain what a Passivhaus Designer does, when you might need one and how they work within a design team.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH142.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm UTC

Andrew Collinson explains what the role of structural engineer entails. He also runs through his most frequent tasks on housing projects, outlines how he might interact within a team and gives tips for how to find good structural engineers.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm UTC

A quantity surveyor can add far more value to a project than just working out how much your project is likely to cost. Jerry Thomas explains the role of a quantity surveyor, when you should employ one and how it could benefit your self build.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm UTC

Tomas Gartner describes building biology as “a more holistic approach to achieving sustainable, low energy buildings with a more human focus." He explains how it is nothing to be feared or fanatical about, but is a sensible approach to understanding the risks and trying to improve them wherever possible.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm UTC

Integrated design is a way of a design team working collaboratively on a project from the outset. Architect Charles Grylls and Passivhaus Consultant Nick Grant explain how their team works and the benefits it has for the client, as well as for future projects.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH138.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50pm UTC

Initiated by Cherwell District Council, the Graven Hill Village Development Company are providing opportunities for self builders to create their own homes on a 1900 plot site, on land previously owned by the Ministry of Defence near Bicester. Philip Singleton explains the scheme and what potential customers can expect on their ‘customer journey’.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm UTC

Ben Adam-Smith shares what he's learnt from visiting 6 self build projects, each shortlisted for the UK Passivhaus Awards 2016.

Regen Media produced 6 video inserts for the ceremony and this gave Ben the opportunity to visit these homes. Now he reflects on each project and the key takeaways.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm UTC

Tom Gresford likes to use auctions as a way of finding interesting and quirky development sites. He bought an old water tower at auction to build his latest project, Chieveley Passivhaus, which was shortlisted for a UK Passivhaus Award 2016. His intention was to show that you can build beautiful, modern houses in the Passivhaus way. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm UTC

Angie and Paul Dallas wanted to build a comfortable, energy efficient home for their retirement, using land at their existing property. Paul was also keen to be as hands-on as possible, but their decision to build to the Passivhaus Standard, which he didn’t have experience of, left Paul needing to create a role for himself.  

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm UTC

Paul Foulkes explains how building automation systems differ from smart home technology, how they can improve energy efficiency, and why the KNX non-proprietary system can help a building adapt to the needs of its occupants.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm UTC

For the past few years Peter Schneider has been looking into how the Passivhaus standard can be introduced to modular homes being built at local factories in the Vermont area of the United States. He explains how they are trying to educate people to realise the benefits and life cycle cost savings of having a better built, energy efficient home.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH132.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm UTC

Robert Young explains why he decided to build a home for his retirement at the end of the garden and what steps were necessary to create this low maintenance, high comfort dwelling.

There was also one significant constraint on this plot, a mature lime tree, which could not be removed. Ultimately this led to the curved house that was designed.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm UTC

Lisa Jackson is a planning consultant and together with her husband, who has a background in construction and planning, set out to build an energy efficient home. What they created was a timber frame home built to the Passivhaus standard.

Lisa shares her experience of the process and is also able to provide useful tips about getting through the planning process. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

In 2012 Cambridge City Council advertised for potential members for a new cohousing scheme on a plot of land within an existing development. Chris Wilson was struck by the idea of building a consensus based community and is now Chair of the K1 cohousing group. He talks to us about the processes they have gone through to get the scheme to its current stage.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm UTC

Helen Brown heads up the building physics department at Encraft. Her main area of interest is in low energy construction in new build housing, with a particular focus on Passivhaus.

Based on various research and monitoring methods she is able to explain the differences between actual energy consumption compared with their designed intent.


Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm UTC

Ben Adam-Smith outlines 5 strategies for taking your land search into your own hands.

If you have been struggling to unearth a plot for your self build and have time to invest, then these proactive strategies could help you get your hands on something that others have missed.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am UTC

Simon Sturgis has been studying carbon emissions in the building industry for the last 8 or 9 years. He uses his experience to look at the scenarios of when it might be best to demolish and rebuild, or whether retrofit might be a better option. He also explains how new buildings should be created with their ‘circular economy’ in mind.  

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm UTC

Andrew Michler has been living off grid in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for over 20 years. He has had a long interest in sustainable design and as well as completing a book about how sustainable architecture around the world responds to its conditions, he has also created Colorado’s first certified Passivhaus home.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH125.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm UTC

Potton have a history of serving the self build market and are currently building a Passivhaus show home. They are making the details of the build available through their Self Build Live events and are running courses through their Self Build Academy to help people through the self build journey. Paul Newman explains why they’re doing this, and also what lessons they’ve learned from the construction of their Passivhaus show house.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm UTC

Like Ben Adam-Smith, Michelle is a podcaster who is keen to build her own home and is sharing the information she learns along the way with her audience. In this episode she and Ben discuss how some of the challenges of the self build market compare in the UK and the US, and also some of the best things about their respective housing industries.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm UTC

With Ben Adam-Smith struggling to find a plot of land in his town, he has decided to try a new approach and dedicate a full day trying to tap in to local knowledge. He shares the tips he was given and concludes with how successful his day was in progressing his self build plans.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH122.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12pm UTC

Together with her team at Passivhaus Homes, Janet Cotterell has been developing their PH15 system for building houses to Passivhaus standard. She explains the differences between kit and system approaches and why there should be more available on the UK market.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm UTC

Thomas Honour is a mortgage adviser for BuildStore, who are mortgage brokers specialising in projects such as self builds. Self build mortgages differ from traditional ones, and Thomas explains some of the products available and what you are likely to need to secure finance for your project.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH120.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm UTC

Harvey Fremlin is Managing Director of the National Self Build and Renovation Centre, where they have trade exhibitors, run courses and generally provide impartial advice on all things self build. Harvey talks us through the different things to be thinking about when you’re choosing your building materials.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH119.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm UTC

Keen to focus on the professions involved in a self build project, in this episode we’re looking at architects. Adrian Dobson has worked at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for over 10 years and is their Executive Director Members. He was a practising architect himself and still gives lectures and seminars to students and architects in practice. Adrian explains the benefits an architect can provide, and gives advice on how to find the right one for your project.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH118.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm UTC

David Snell is author of ‘Building Your Own Home’ and writes regularly for ‘Homebuilding & Renovating’. The last time we spoke to David he was working on his 14th and ‘final’ self build project. He has since decided to return to Gloucestershire and is now working on his 15th! With so much experience to draw upon he is able to give examples of what to look for when selecting a plot of land, and how you can tell whether it’s the right one for you.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm UTC

Mike Whitfield, of Mike Whitfield Construction, has been focused on creating energy efficient houses in Herefordshire since the 1990s. He explains why building high quality, low energy buildings requires different skills and mind-set to traditional construction, and gives advice on how to find a builder who is up to the task.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Freelance writer and author of Housebuilder’s Bible, Mark Brinkley, has been writing about how to build houses for over 20 years. Now embarking on a new self build project of his own he is aware of how terrifying the process can be! He shares with us some of his experience of how to create a budget, and what you can do to make sure you stick to it.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm UTC

David Olivier has over 30 years of experience working with architects and engineers, advising on energy conscious design. In 2012 he moved into his own passive solar self build house and shares with us some of what he has learnt professionally, and personally.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm UTC

Tara and Dimitri had allocated £350,000 for the purchase of land and costs for building their Gloucestershire home. They explain how they worked with their architect and builder to manage their budget and pass on tips for what they learnt along the way.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH113.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41pm UTC

Phill Skill is Lead Business Consultant at Stroud District Council, and for 10 years before that he was their Head of Planning. He talks us through the terminology and processes involved that might apply to a self build project.  

Check out the show notes for more information.


Direct download: HPH112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm UTC

Nick Grant explains why his childhood “make do and mend” mentality has given him a lifelong passion for doing more with less. Combined with a background in engineering he demonstrates how value engineering can be applied to a house building project. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH111.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm UTC

Ben Adam-Smith reviews where he is in his own self-build process and discusses the reasons why there will be some changes to future podcasts.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25pm UTC

Cesar Abeid has recently written a book called ‘Project Management for You’. He explains how his simple steps approach to project management can help bring an idea into reality, whether in your personal or professional life, and how this methodology can be applied to organising a self-build project without being overwhelmed!

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39pm UTC

Ben Adam-Smith has been frustrated by his lack of progress in finding a suitable building plot and has been wondering whether there is anything he can be doing in the meantime to help his project. Kirsty Maguire of Kirsty Maguire Architect Ltd explains the steps that he could be taking now to put him in a stronger position for when he has a site and the project goes live.

 Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH108.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26pm UTC

Jon Broome from Jon Broome Architects explains how to create sustainable neighbourhoods and why they make better places to live. He also shares progress on a group self build scheme in Lewisham, London, which is embracing these principles.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Professor Phil Jones from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University explains how SOLCER House exports more energy to the grid than it uses and addresses fundamental issues relating to affordability, buildability and performance. With governments around the world committing to deliver zero carbon housing by 2019, this project has been designed from the outset as a practical solution.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Prewett Bizley Architects specialises in low energy architecture and Bob has a particular interest in retrofit. He explains that housing is responsible for around 27% of the UK's carbon emissions, so buildings of all ages and styles have a part to play in terms of energy efficiency.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH105.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Arun, Nicki, Donal, and Glen share their stories of how they successfully bought their plots of land. With four case studies to evaluate from three different countries, there’s lots to be learned from our guests today.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Geoff and Kate Tunstall explain how they were able to create a fantastic Passivhaus in Denby Dale with a modest budget of around £150,000. They also share how they got caught by a 6-inch ransom strip and what options were open to them.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

The residents of Fintry, Scotland, were approached back in 2003 by a developer that was looking to set up a wind farm in the area and was seeking local support. After years of negotiations the community agreed to the wind farm on the proviso that they install an extra turbine on the site, for the Fintry community. The wind farm developer paid for the additional turbine, which the community are gradually buying back over 15 years, together with paying maintenance, interest and land rental costs.

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Michaela Benson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has spent the last three years working on a research project called 'Self-Building - The Production and Consumption of New Homes From the Perspective of Households'. She wanted to understand the diversity of the houses people build, their motivations for doing it and their experiences of the process. Her interviews with twenty individual self-builders and five group projects during that time have led her to notice characteristics that these people share. 

Check out the show notes for more information.

Direct download: HPH101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

We catch up with Alex Baines, a Passivhaus consultant who you may remember from episode 74. We spoke to him then about how gaining support for his semi earth-sheltered rural self-build from his local community helped him achieve the necessary planning permissions. Almost a year on we spoke with him again to see what progress he has made on the build so far.

Check out the show notes to see some pictures of the progress.

Direct download: HPH100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01pm UTC

It has been almost a year since Luke Mahon took ownership of a new-build developer house, which he soon discovered lacked insulation! He talks us through his experience and the ongoing battle to get the house completed.

See the full show notes:

Direct download: HPH099.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Architect, builder and Passivhaus Consultant, Christina Snyder shares the story of the experimental zero-energy Passivhaus self-build that she and her husband have undertaken in Michigan, and explains why they are in no rush to complete it.

Direct download: HPH098.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Peter Warm from WARM: Low Energy Building Practice explains why building to Passivhaus standard is desirable, how certification comes into the equation, and what steps will increase your chances of reaching certification.

Direct download: HPH097.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm UTC

Kara Rosemeier from Passive House Academy New Zealand looks at why natural ventilation leads to little control of ventilation. She also shares why the Passivhaus approach is the logical step forwards.

Direct download: HPH096.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Harold Orr reflects on why the Saskatchewan Conservation House was a landmark on the road to high performance buildings.

Direct download: HPH095.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Brian Murphy from Green Building Encyclopaedia runs through the most common types of insulation and explains why they each have strengths and weaknesses.

Direct download: HPH094.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13am UTC

Tad Everhart, an energy adviser from Portland, Oregon, shares his story of building a house . . . which he retrofitted 10 years later after learning about Passivhaus. We find out why he was motivated to take on the challenge, how he went about it and whether all the hard work was worth it.

Direct download: HPH093.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm UTC

Professor Tom Woolley from Rachel Bevan Architects explains what hempcrete is, how it is mixed and applied, and what the pros and cons of using it are.

Direct download: HPH092.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29pm UTC

Tomás O’Leary from the Passive House Academy explains why he became an early adopter of the Passivhaus standard and also shares why we need to take every opportunity to retrofit existing buildings, even if it is a phased approach.

Direct download: HPH091.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12pm UTC

Darren Macri from Bleu Nest is a certified Passivhaus builder and consultant, and he explains what this means and how putting together a team who have had training is likely to benefit your low energy build.

He also has insights into his own house build which is nearing completion.

Direct download: HPH090.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm UTC

Bjørn Kierulf from Createrra explains how you can have the best of both worlds, using almost entirely natural materials to create a house that reaches the Passivhaus Standard.

Direct download: HPH089.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am UTC

Jay Shafer from Four Lights Tiny House Company gives us the lowdown of tiny house living. He explains why he initially made the choice, how different life has been since and why he has never looked back.

Jay also shares practical advice of what you need to know and do in order to transition to a smaller house.

Direct download: HPH088.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm UTC

Andrew Peel from Peel Passive House Consulting explains why the quality assurance procedure is at the heart of the Passivhaus standard. He also feels the process can be useful to improve any building, even if not striving for the standard.

Direct download: HPH087.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am UTC

Dylan Lamar from Green Hammer explains how design ideas are communicated in various different ways, from sketches drawn by hand to sophisticated computer models. He also shares the design process at Green Hammer, and how and why house plans evolve.

Direct download: HPH086.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09pm UTC

Sofie Pelsmakers, environmental architect and doctoral researcher at University College London (UCL), busts 10 common environmental design myths. This also serves as a good introduction to The Environmental Design Pocketbook.

Direct download: HPH085.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm UTC

Clare Parry, Director of the Australian Passive House Association, explains what it means to work on Passivhaus projects in different climates. What, if anything, changes?

Direct download: HPH084.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm UTC

Author Michael Mobbs reflects on what he’s learnt about sustainability over the last 20 years. From living without a car and bringing key services in-house (his home is not connected to mains water, mains electricity or mains drainage) to growing his own food and being careful how he spends his money, Michael considers how effective he has been.

Direct download: HPH083.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41pm UTC

David Winterton from Sydney-based consultancy Ecological Design gives us a rundown of solar photovoltaic (solar PV). We find out how it works, what the key considerations are and why prices of PV panels always seem to be coming down!

Direct download: HPH082.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11pm UTC

Cath Hassell from ech2o consultants explains what rainwater harvesting is, why it’s useful and how to get started.

If you haven’t heard our first podcast interview with Cath on the topic of saving water, check that one out first!

Direct download: HPH081.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am UTC

Paul Jennings from ALDAS talks through some of the findings from the airtightness tests we carried out as part of our documentary.

Direct download: HPH080.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am UTC

Mark Chesney from Beam Vacuum & Ventilation explains how houses have become increasingly airtight and why this has had a significant impact on energy efficiency. He also shares why having a good ventilation strategy is so important.

Direct download: HPH079.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35pm UTC

John Butler tells the story of how he retrofitted a bungalow to be more energy efficient. Having carried out a lot of the work himself, he also shares what he's learnt about airtightness and overheating.

Direct download: HPH078.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59pm UTC

Jackson Moulding from Ecomotive tells the story of Ashley Vale, a group self build scheme in Bristol, UK, that initially had to fend off a large developer in order to secure a plot of land. The will of the local community was instrumental in making this happen.

Direct download: HPH077.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31pm UTC

David Sharpe from Thomasons explains what the foundations are, why they must be site specific and how they could impact on the design of a building.

Direct download: HPH076.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02pm UTC

James and Dani McDonald reveal why they were drawn to HUF HAUS, how the process worked and why they have become very loyal to the brand.

Direct download: HPH075.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22pm UTC

Alex Baines talks through the plans for his semi earth-sheltered home, to be constructed to Passivhaus standard, and explains why involving the local community in the early stages was essential in gaining the relevant permissions.

Direct download: HPH074.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:40pm UTC

Richard Oxley from Oxley Conservation explains why understanding an old house is such a vital first step to take before upgrading its performance.

Direct download: HPH073.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm UTC

Tim Nicholson reveals why he chose to retrofit rather than build new and, having selected a suitable property, what the strategy was and why. Tim has also been blogging about the experience on his website Oxford Green House.

Direct download: HPH072.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm UTC

Alastair Parvin explains how WikiHouse has developed and why it is so significant when it comes to enabling more people to build affordable, high quality homes.

Direct download: HPH071.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm UTC

Jake White from Ecotecture shares the story of The Curly House, an award-winning project that was built using insulated concrete forms (ICF). He explains what an ICF is, why there are benefits in terms of speed of construction and durability, and why most concrete structures have the potential to be extremely airtight.

Direct download: HPH070.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08am UTC

Rory Bergin from HTA Design LLP explains why building standards are devised, the pros and cons, and why people adopt voluntary standards. He also gives an overview of the Active House standard.

Direct download: HPH069.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm UTC

Dusty Gedge, founder of, explains the benefits of installing a green roof, how it can be simple and why lots of people get swayed by commercial systems.

Direct download: HPH068.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm UTC

Graham Hunter from Parity Projects explains how data collected from one of their energy assessments is then turned into a report of options for the homeowner. This follows on from episode 60 which trailed Graham as he conducted an assessment.

Direct download: HPH067.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04pm UTC

Stephen Gurney from Ecological Building Systems explains the main causes of poor airtightness test results.

Direct download: HPH066.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:23pm UTC

Alan Budden from Eco Design Consultants explains how simple design decisions can drastically alter the energy performance of a house and why this means your designer needs to be using a tool like the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) to better inform these decisions.

Direct download: HPH065.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm UTC

Ken Levenson from 475 High Performance Building Supply explains what overheating is, why it happens and how to deal with it.

Direct download: HPH064.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55pm UTC

Doug King explains what smart energy systems are, how they work and whether we should be embracing them in our new homes.

Direct download: HPH063.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:40pm UTC

Building services engineer Alan Clarke explains what factors should be considered when choosing a heating system for a low energy home.

Direct download: HPH062.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30pm UTC

If the idea of going 'off-grid' excites you, then perhaps now is a great time to be doing it. We live in an era where the cost of items such as solar panels is continually dropping and this is juxtaposed with fossil fuel reserves that deplete day by day.

While you may even be forced off-grid if you move to a remote location, does it make sense going off-grid if you have perfectly good access (for example, in a town or village)? And with different grids -transport, gas, water - which is the easiest to unplug from?!

In this discussion (which was one of our Google+ Hangouts) we discuss some of the issues surrounding going off-grid.

The Panel

Mike Coe, who lives in the Cropthorne Autonomous House (and was our guest in episode 54).

Paul Scheckel, author of The Home Energy Diet and The Homeowner's Energy Handbook.

Ken Silverstein, an business journalist who specialises in writing about energy

Direct download: HPH061.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm UTC

Graham Hunter from Parity Projects conducts an energy assessment of a country house. He talks through the process as he goes about it and explains how the collected data will be used.

Direct download: HPH060.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58am UTC

Andrew Farr from Green Building Store explains what qualities mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) should bring to a house. He also shares how to make sure you get a system that is properly designed, installed and commissioned.

Direct download: HPH059.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am UTC

Chris Parsons from Parsons + Whittley architects shares his experience of the costs behind Passivhaus.

Interview with Chris Parsons

Chris Parsons from Parsons + Whittley architects has always had a focus on making buildings as efficient as they can possibly be. With the issues around global warming and trying to reduce carbon emissions, this is why they found a great synergy with Passivhaus.

Direct download: HPH058.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm UTC

Joe Atkinson explains how the LILAC cohousing community came together and why their project is affordable for everyone.

Direct download: HPH057.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am UTC

Piers Taylor from Invisible Studio Architects explains what a build system is, why you would use one over another and whether any are preferable when it comes to creating low energy houses.

Direct download: HPH056.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm UTC