Handover, maintenance and comfort

Handover, maintenance and comfort

It is sometimes thought one drawback of the Passivhaus standard is that it requires occupants to change their behaviour, yet a properly designed Passivhaus should not require any significant behavioural change. Passivhaus comes in all varieties; not just domestic dwellings, but schools, hotels, hospitals can all be delivered to the standard. The design should only include components and controls that are appropriate for the skills and understanding of the occupants.

Each Passivhaus is bespoke in the sense that there is no standard typology, meaning the handover process and the maintenance regime needs to be tailored every time to suit different heating, ventilation and cooling methods, different equipment and component demands, and different occupant types. As always, understanding is the key. For the occupant, a clear understanding of the controls and techniques available to them will ensure they can achieve a comfortable environment with very low energy demands. For those responsible for maintenance, an understanding of the sensitivities and contribution of components to the overall performance will ensure the comfort and energy qualities are delivered.

The Passivhaus Trust has been working with Rachel Mitchell, Bath University and WARM to analyse the performance of a number of certified Passivhaus dwellings in the UK.

Monitoring data obtained from Technology Strategy Board (now...

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New occupants of any house/building should be provided with information about the property on at least three levels: Emergency, maintaining comfort, and how to get the most out of your property. 

Different levels of understanding and...

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Set everything up to be working on ‘move in’ day. This allows occupiers to concentrate on the actual move, without having the added complication of learning new controls and techniques on the day. The ‘quick start’ guide should form a part of...

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Consider the provision of stickers or laminated graphic instructions affixed to plant where maintenance is to be carried out by occupants, or untrained persons. More technical or complex documents should be included as appendices within the...

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Identify any maintenance items to be carried out by the occupier, and provide clear and simple instructions for doing so. These can be supplemented by stickers or laminated posters affixed to the equipment if helpful.

Provide a very...

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Advance information in the form of a general explanation of the Passivhaus standard and methodology, and how it applies to the specific project can be a helpful start.

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Don't
Leave the maintenance team in the dark.
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Frighten occupants with complicated or technical explanations
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Try to familiarise on ‘move in’ day
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Over complicate user guides
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Do
Ensure fault response teams are well informed
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Involve maintenance teams in the design
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Familiarise occupants through ‘hands on’ experiences
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Set the building up to function prior to ‘move in’ day
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Consider accessible video guides
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Provide a very simple ‘quick start’ guide, stickers or posters where appropriate
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Provide advance information. The earlier the journey starts, the sooner it finishes
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Burnham Overy Staithe

Following the delivery of a number of Passivhaus schemes, Hastoe Housing Association have continually reviewed their handover procedure to incorporate a number of revisions, incorporating lessons from each.

Recognising that tenants would have no special knowledge of the Passivhaus...

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