Passivhaus Trust announces nominees for ‘the Oscars for building performance’

© Passivhaus Trust

Let’s hope that unlike the Oscars, they make the right choices and open the right envelopes.

The UK Passivhaus Trust has just announced its short list for the 2018 UK Passivhaus awards, to be given out in October. They start their press release with the claim that the awards are “Often dubbed ‘the Oscars for building performance’” I certainly hope not, because the Oscars have been getting it wrong since How Green Was My Valley beat Citizen Kane in 1941.

Nonetheless it is a fun analogy, and they include two of this TreeHugger’s favourite projects anywhere anytime, which we have previously covered:

Carrowbreck Meadow

© Jefferson Smith/ Hamson Barron Smith

2018 UK Passivhaus Awards Finalist in the Large Residential category. Carrowbreck Meadow is a development of 14 Passivhaus homes. The design response is a contemporary rendition of a Norfolk vernacular – defined by several references to the historic barn seen throughout the county.


This is one of the nicest almost-social housing projects I have seen, a collection of charming little passivhaus houses in the woods, designed by Hamson Barron Smith. The houses are lovely, and the economic model, where the municipal council builds a mix of rental and sale housing, is one that should be emulated, copied, xeroxed and stolen; the Chairman of Broadland Growth Limited and Broadland District Council Leader, Andrew Proctor, explains:

Achieving environmental excellence in everything we do is one of our key ambitions and I’m proud of this development. The homes will meet exceptionally high standards of energy efficiency making them much cheaper to run than the average house as well as good for the environment. Selling some of them on a shared equity basis will also help local people looking to get on the housing ladder.


If this doesn’t win, it will be the worst scandal since Crash stole the Oscar from Brokeback Mountain.

Read more on the project on TreeHugger: Passivhaus development in the UK shows that we can have nice things and at the Passivhaus Trust.

The Enterprise Centre

Passive House +/via

Finalist in the non-domestic category of the 2018 UK Passivhaus Awards. This ambitious office demonstrates exemplary low-carbon architecture that achieves the client’s aspiration of Passivhaus, BREEAM Outstanding, and a 100-year performance lifecycle. Utilising local materials, it explores a contemporary vernacular & investigates the impacts of interior materials on health & wellbeing.


It is a lot more than that; I believe that Architype has designed one of the most important buildings of this century, anywhere; After seeing a lot of buildings declared the world’s greenest, I believe that this one is. Of course, it is Passivhaus; it also has an incredibly low embodied energy.

© Architype/ A low-carbon diet for green building

I have called it the American Chemistry Council’s worst nightmare, because of its use of a natural, fossil fuel free materials palette. I have joked that it is almost edible, that you could pour milk on it and eat it for breakfast, for a good, high fibre diet.

If this doesn’t win, it will be the worst scandal since Bonnie and Clyde lost the Oscar to Guess who’s coming to dinner.

See more on TreeHugger: Thatch-covered Enterprise Centre may be the world’s greenest building
and at Passivhaus Trust.

Old Holloway

© Juraj Mikurcik

Small projects finalist in the 2018 UK Passivhaus Awards. A seductively simple self-build utilising an innovative pre-fabricated straw-bale/ timber construction. Persevering through a 4 year planning process, the single storey detached home sits snuggly within its rural surroundings.


I have followed Juraj Mikurcik and his progress on this house on Twitter, it’s a fascinating project and I will be writing about it in greater detail shortly. It is a small, modest project compared to the other nominees; it’s like those small films that compete against expensive blockbusters that get all the Academy votes and win, even though they are awful. This house is L.A Confidential up against Titanic; lets hope they make the right choice this time.

Read more about it at Passivhaus Trust, and see all the nominees at the UK Passivhaus Trust.

Lloyd Alter / TreeHugger