new bold design limited
6a West Blackdene
Co Durham, DL13 1EQ

Tel: 07815 305454

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Sustainable building design


"There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know" Ambrose Bierce (1824-1914)

There is nothing new about designing buildings to make best use of local or recycled materials or to require very little energy to make them habitable. We only need to look back a few centuries in the UK or at the present Third World to see sustainable buildings which have very little impact on the environment, either locally or globally, and which still meet the needs of the occupants. These are the original “eco-homes”


Successive Governments in the UK have failed miserably to keep pace with energy conservation legislation in other European countries despite having a similar climate. Improvements in the Building Regulations and the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) are moves in the right direction but they are woefully inadequate if we are to achieve our stated aim of achieving zero carbon new homes by 2016, even if we could agree what that means.


Having introduced feed-in tariffs (FIT) for micro-generation of electricity, our Government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is planning to introduce the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in June 2011 to offer financial support for the installation of renewable heating systems. This may represent another step in the right direction towards sustainable buildings but it diverts attention from our key challenge of reducing energy consumption and heat losses from new and existing buildings by increasing their levels of insulation and air-tightness




The PassivHaus Institute in Germany has developed a tried and tested method of constructing very sustainable buildings that provide a light, healthy and comfortable environment all year round while consuming very little energy. The principles of a PassivHaus building are simple. The building fabric has high levels of insulation and air-tightness, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) and orientation and glazing to maximize natural solar gain.


The whole business of sustainable building design is becoming a rather dodgy bandwagon covered in greenwash and decorated with eco-bling renewables. We aim to see through the greenwash by applying the PassivHaus principles to deliver real low-energy buildings, concentrating on a well-insulated and air-tight building that can benefit from natural solar gain and only recommending to the use of renewable technologies when energy consumption by the building fabric has been reduced to the absolute minimum.


For more information on PassivHaus and how new bold design can help you achieve PassivHaus standards click here »


At new bold design we take a personal, holistic approach to building design and project management by considering the historical context, accessibility and energy conservation so we can deliver buildings that are fit for all our futures

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