Construction News

Can a Passivhaus change your life? Residents at Wootton Wawen tell us

todayJuly 15, 2021


I have asthma and am sensitive to my environment so I have been thinking about what life might be like if I were to live in a Passivhaus. Right now I frequently have to use my inhaler and am also suffering from skin problems. I believe these are all related to my very sensitive system and the building materials used in our current home. So recently while researching this issue, I discovered the Passivhaus development at Wootton Wawen that was launched in September 2018 by HRH The Princess Royal.

Keyte Gardens was Warwickshire’s first Passivhaus affordable housing development

The Passivhaus development at Keyte Gardens was Warwickshire’s first Passivhaus affordable housing development in the village of Wootton Wawen. The project was led by the Warwickshire Rural Housing Association (WRHA) and not only offers the benefits of passive homes but also offers affordable homes and shared ownership options.

A passive home offers a better quality living environment along with significantly reduced energy bills, which also means they are more environmentally friendly. So given my own situation and the critical stage of the climate crisis that we are currently in I was ever so curious to talk to some of the residents at Keyte Gardens, Wootton Wawen.

Jack Downes and Katie Ladkin outside their house

Katie Ladkin and Jack Downes, residents of the Passivhaus development at Keyte Gardens in Wootton Wawen

Katie Ladkin and Jack Downes moved into Keyte Gardens in Wootton Wawen when the homes were new in July 2018. They had been living with Jack’s parents in the village for three years whilst saving for a home of their own, but never thought they would be able to stay in the village.

Although they wanted to stay in Wootton Wawen, close to family and friends, they never thought they’d be able to afford a house in the village. Katie and Jack are now shared owners at Keyte Gardens. They were delighted to be eligible to buy a shared ownership home on the scheme.

So three years on, is their Passivhaus life everything they hoped for?

Yes! Katie told us, “I never expected my first home to be my forever home. It feels special and we absolutely love it.”

What do you think about the design and setting?

“It’s got a lovely garden, wonderful views, and the Passivhaus design is great.”

People talk about how energy efficient passive houses are, do you find that to be the case?

“We rarely put the heating on, but the house is lovely and warm and stays at a constant temperature.”

That is great to hear, so what about your energy bills?

“Not only have our energy bills reduced by about 50%- 60%, but Jack’s asthma has improved too; his breathing is so much better.”

Well, that is wonderful news, especially about Jack. It also confirms what I hoped to be the case.

So any plans for the future?

“We had a baby in March, and we’re looking forward to bringing him up in this lovely, friendly community.”

Jack and Katie with their baby

It has been wonderful to talk to this young couple and discover that a Passivhaus has the potential to change your life in positive ways.

Of course, on top of that in their case, they qualified for shared ownership which has enabled Kate and Jack and other local people to get on the property ladder giving them security and peace of mind.

These affordable Passivhaus homes have also enabled people to be able to afford to stay in their village, close to family and friends and contribute to the sustainability of community life.

Written by: Jackie De Burca

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