Cameron Close is a Passivhaus development of 16 semi-detached houses and 12 sheltered accommodation apartments for Southern Housing Group in the rural village of Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

Southern Housing Group did not initially set out to develop a Passivhaus scheme. The low energy development replaces a sheltered housing scheme that had previously occupied the site, but which had reached the end of its life.  For its replacement Southern Housing wanted to meet the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes without having to rely on micro-renewable technologies so it looked at a fabric first approach embraced by Passivhaus. “This wasn’t innovation for innovation’s sake – it was a means to an end,” says Andrew Hulmes, Area Development Manager, Southern Housing Group.

A Passivhaus must be built according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. These seek to minimise the need for space heating on the principle that reducing heat losses to a minimum is the most cost-effective and most robust way of achieving a low carbon building. The system relies on maximising the use of fabric insulation, the removal of thermal bridges and ensuring stringent airtightness to minimise the demand for heating. Homes also include a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery to ensure they can be maintained to be comfortable and healthy.