Prof Wulf Daseking, who has directed the development of Academy award-winning Freiburg, in South West Germany presented a paper to a conference in Oxford (The way we live) on 10 September. He made three simple points about development in Freiburg that should put us (in the UK) to shame.
1. Building to Passivhaus standard costs about 12% more but the payback in the cost of energy saved is about 7 years - after which the benefit continues of efficient, warm and comfortable homes.
2. Developments include a mix of privately owned, privately rented, social rented and co-operative housing. We should asking why, if co-housing is so popular in Germany (and Scandinavia and the US), is it vanishingly rare in the UK? Could this be something to do with the planning system?
3. Infrastructure is put in place before the new housing is occupied. Car ownership and use will not be reduced unless car clubs are in place to be available to the new occupiers.
If this is how it is done in Freiburg why would the lessens in energy efficiency, variety of housing and car dependency not apply to the UK?
There was an interesting point made by Peter Stoddart that builders only prepared to build to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 should be persuaded to provide a show home to Level 4 and prospective purchasers could have the upgrade as an option. Apparently most if not all elected for the higher standard. Why then is the Government winding down the Code and raising the Building Regulations to an equivalent of only CSH 3.5 in April 2014?