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Showing the potential of Passivhaus with Kingspan TEK


The Kingspan TEK Building System of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) has been used to create a contemporary show home that blends ambitious architectural design with the meticulous energy efficiency requirements of the Passivhaus Standard, at the Potton Show Centre in St Neots.

HTA Design’s blueprint for the new Elsworth Show Home centres around a small enclosed courtyard with a large rooflight to maximise incoming natural light. This is surrounded by the staircase and living areas, whose size and purpose can be adapted to suit different lifestyles.

Architect and Head of Sustainable Future at HTA Design, Rory Bergin, discussed the project:

“Achieving the requirements of the Passivhaus Standard can be a challenge. It often leads to the architectural design of the building to be compromised in order to offer the most energy-efficient form, typically resulting in a design that sacrifices interest for simplicity. Potton and HTA Design wanted to demonstrate that this is not necessary when a high-performance construction system is used. We purposely selected the design which would be the most complex to build from an energy efficiency perspective as it offered the most flexible family home. The result is a testament to the high levels of building performance and architectural design that can be achieved with careful planning, expert workmanship, and the right products.”

The build features Kingspan TEK Building System panels in both 142 mm and 172 mm widths. 142 mm Kingspan TEK Building System panels were used to form the walls, with an additional external layer of 100 mm Kingspan Kooltherm K12 Framing Board to ensure a ‘thermal-bridge free construction” and to achieve a U-value of just 0.10 W/m2∙K. The roof was constructed with 172 mm Kingspan TEK Building System panels as the increased thickness allows the panel to span further without additional support. Not only did the thicker panels help to preserve the open modern aesthetic of the show home, installing them in a large format also simplified the build and reduced the time spent working at height.

In addition to its high thermal performance and construction benefits, the Kingspan TEK Building System was also specified to help the building achieve low air leakage rates.

Dr. Paul Newman, Director of Self-Build at Potton, explains:

“We have used the Kingspan TEK Building System on hundreds of low-energy buildings and trust and understand its performance characteristics. From experience, we knew that by carefully sealing and taping the external wall junctions that we could achieve the airtightness required for a Passivhaus level construction. After carrying out two tests, including a smoke test to reveal leaks, we attained a final result of 0.43 ach (air changes per hour) @ 50 pa, exceeding the standard’s minimum of 0.60 ach @ 50 Pa.”

Kingspan TEK Building System panels comprise an OSB/3 facing either side of a highly insulated core and can deliver U-values of 0.20 W/m2.K or better. All Kingspan TEK panels manufactured at the Sherburn–in–Elmet manufacturing facility are certified to BES 6001 ‘Very Good’ and the manufacturing facility also carries both FSC® (FSC®-C109304) and PEFC Chain of Custody certification.

The Elsworth Show Home is now open to visitors and is seeking to become fully certified by the Passivhaus Institute in the near future.

Image - Potton