Families living in the first public sector homes in the Isle of Man to achieve the internationally recognised Passivhaus standard are using up to 58% less energy than the average UK household.
An interim study has shown significantly lower levels of electricity and gas consumption in the two eco houses, which were constructed during the final phase of the Janet’s Corner development in Castletown.
Results for the first 12 months of occupancy of the three-bedroom homes at Thie Grian revealed total annual energy consumption of 9,070 kilowatt hours (property 1) and 7,589 kilowatt hours (property 2). Average annual energy consumption in the UK is 18,378kWh, according to data published by the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The figures for the properties in Castletown were also well inside the target (10,329kWh) required to meet the certified Passivhaus standard.
The low-energy homes, winners of two of the main categories in the 2015 Energy Awards, were built as part of wider efforts by the Department of Infrastructure’s Housing Division to encourage more sustainable construction methods in the Isle of Man.
The Passivhaus standard, which was first introduced in Germany in the 1990s, helps to substantially reduce energy costs and to improve indoor air quality. This is achieved in part by high levels of thermal insulation, including triple-glazed windows, the use of whole house ventilation and heat recovery, and careful detailing and construction to maximise the airtightness of the building.
These ‘passive’ construction methods are used rather than more sophisticated technology such as solar panels, wind generators or ground source heat pumps.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:
‘The Department has been monitoring the performance of the two homes and the initial results are very impressive. I am passionate about protecting the environment and this clearly points the way towards a more sustainable approach to providing affordable housing in the Isle of Man.’