Using up to 90% less heat energy than conventional buildings

Any new building project has an impact on the environment. This happens locally, through its effect on townscapes or countryside; regionally through the sourcing, manufacture and transport of building materials, labour and water; or globally, through the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on our warming planet. With careful forethought and design however, it is possible to mitigate the worst of a building’s impact on the environment and even have a net positive consequence.

The greatest environmental impact of any building is the energy used to heat it over its lifetime. For example, in the order of 62% of all household energy use is for space heating, with a further 18% for hot water generation plus 3% on lighting, 3% on cooking appliances and the remaining 14% on general electrical appliances. Clearly then, cutting down on heat energy use should be the overriding consideration in the design of eco-friendly buildings and Cowan Eco Design seeks to adopt the Passivhaus design approach wherever appropriate.

The principles of Passivhaus allows us to design buildings of all types – private houses, care homes, offices or community buildings – that use around 80-90% less heat energy than conventional buildings, thanks to detailed consideration of local climate, super insulated structures, window positioning and draught-free construction methods. For the answers to some common questions about Passivhaus, click here.

Passivhaus design delivers buildings that never get cold; that cost only a few pounds per month to run; and that have the very highest standards of indoor air quality. They are quieter, healthier and more sustainable than any other buildings – so much so that many European cities now have made the Passivhaus standard mandatory for all new buildings To find out more about Cowan Eco-Design and the Passivhaus design services, click here.

Eco building also means favouring the use of green materials such as timber, natural insulations or clay products over the specification of concrete or petro-chemical-derived foams and plastics since far less energy is used, or carbon dioxide emitted, in their manufacture – some plant-based materials even lock in carbon. We have valuable experience in designing with such products and will be able to suggest the most appropriate eco specification for your building.