Much Ado About Sustainability

Image Above: Picture courtesy of Richard Kiely

REHAU’s AGILA doors have been installed in 12 affordable homes in Shropshire to provide a warm welcome to Housing Association tenants moving into the flagship Passivhaus development in Much Wenlock.

The Callaughtons Ash scheme has been built on behalf of South Shropshire Housing Association for tenants with a local connection to the town. The development comprises 12 one, two and three-bed Passivhaus homes, with 10 allocated for affordable rent and two for shared ownership.

The highly sustainable scheme was designed by Architype, an architecture firm based in Hereford with offices in London and Edinburgh, which has been working at the forefront of sustainability for many years. The company works on projects across the country and is a specialist in residential and commercial Passivhaus projects.

Paul Neep, Associate at Architype said: “South Shropshire Housing Association was looking to deliver a new housing scheme which would provide good quality, sustainable homes for local people and help eradicate fuel poverty. To do this, they wanted to go beyond fitting high efficiency products in a standard home; they wanted homes which would work in harmony with their surroundings, so they would need less mechanical heating, cooling and lighting and therefore be more cost effective to run for their low-income tenants.”

The design process started in 2015, in close consultation with local residents about the location of the scheme and the design of the Housing Association homes. Architype were keen to use a natural palette of materials for the timber framed houses, so the development would blend effortlessly with its surroundings, and to use locally sourced, sustainable products where possible.

Picture courtesy of Richard Kiely

Paul continued: “Finding doors for the project proved to be quite a challenge. To achieve the Passivhaus standard, we needed doors which had a triple glazed panel for maximum energy efficiency, but more importantly we needed a door which would meet the rigorous threshold criteria.”

Under the Passivhaus standard guidelines, thresholds need to offer level access for accessibility yet provide a heat-proof seal to ensure warm and cold air is not able to flow under the door. Architype had looked at one supplier but due to the risk of condensation with the door’s design, they had to go back to the drawing board. Contractor on the Much Wenlock project, SJ Roberts Construction Ltd, had worked with REHAU before and suggested them to Architype as a possible alterative supplier.

Paul explains: “We spoke to REHAU about the AGILA doors and were really pleased with the offer. The doors would meet the Passivhaus specification with ease, plus they were more attractive than the door we had been looking to use, which was a bonus. We went with the grey finish, which really lifts the quality of the finished home and also ties in with the materials palette we used on the rest of the design. We are so pleased with the doors, we will definitely consider them again for other projects.”

In total, 24 AGILA Passivhaus doors were manufactured for the Much Wenlock project by REHAU authorised partner GRM. Based on the GENEO® system, the doors can achieve a possible Ud value of 0.7 W/m2K, ensuring they meet the exceptionally high efficiency standards demanded by the Passivhaus Trust. Created in partnership with suppliers Roedenburg, the AGILA Passivhaus doors come in a range of contemporary and stylish designs and can be customised with GRP overlay skins in a range of colours and finishes using either foils or Acryl II colour coating.

The doors were fitted at the scheme by local contractors SJ Roberts Construction Ltd. Oliver Heighway, buyer at SJ Roberts said: “This was the company’s first Passivhaus project, and we are pleased to say that it went very smoothly. We worked closely with GRM on the fabrication of the Passivhaus doors, and once they were delivered to site, they were so easy to install. It was just like any other job really, the only difference is we know that the homes we have delivered will achieve so much more than a standard home because of the innovative, sustainable design.”

Malcolm Taylor, Product Manager from REHAU said: “As a company with German heritage and influence, the Passivhaus concept is something that REHAU was always destined to embrace. We have a market-leading range of door and window systems approved for Passivhaus builds and will continue to develop new energy and resource efficient solutions for customers who want to maximise the sustainability of their buildings without compromising on style or functionality.”