Passivhaus Retrofit Project For Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

A pioneering low energy retrofit of a derelict farm building at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Stirley Community Farm in Huddersfield has just commenced work on site. The design & build project, led by Passivhaus firm Green Building Store, will transform the barn into an all-purpose, flexible educational centre and space. A super-insulated timber frame structure will be built into the existing stone building, preserving the outward appearance of the barn, whilst offering EnerPHit levels of performance. As well as working to high insulation and airtightness requirements, the project is developing some innovative solutions to supporting and working with the original stone barn structure, offering lessons for similar low energy retrofits in the UK. 

In addition to the usual Passivhaus considerations of super insulation and airtightness, minimisation of thermal bridging and use of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, the project will be tackling issues such as structural stability of the original barn structure, and prevention of water penetration from the stone walls and rising damp. In order to support and shore up the stone walls, the inner frame will brace the original barn fabric through a purpose- designed tie system, developed by the Green Building Store team and structural engineers. To minimize thermal bridging with this system, the tie connection to the inner timber structure has been carefully detailed to ensure it is fully insulated.

Clients Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have embraced the Passivhaus ‘fabric first’ approach of maximising the energy efficiency of the building fabric to reduce energy use to an absolute minimum. The EnerPHit ‘Cre8 barn’ will complement well what the Trust is trying to achieve at the Community Farm.

The Cre8 barn is being built using funding from Veolia Environmental Trust and will be an education centre for the many volunteers and visitors to the farm. With a communal kitchen, demonstration area and meeting space planned the barn will accommodate both formal and informal education sessions, from school kids to trainees working towards accredited qualifications.

Green Building Store Director and Project Leader Bill Butcher will be writing regular blogs following the progress of the build and sharing detailing and lessons from the project at: