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"And as for the architect’s role? . . . The question here is, what is the goal? Sustainability or ostentation?"

Actually, it's not about ostentation, it's about an aesthetic that people want to live and work in. I did a Google search for Passivhaus designed homes this morning and after browsing literally hundreds of examples they all became a blur of the same prevailing aesthetic: boxy, modern, and surprisingly, something that can best be described as 'monochromatic' using the same materials, colors, and design. Most Passivhaus examples via Google were either stand-alone isolated SFDH (single family detached home) or more rarely, conjoined SFH's in their own new subdivision. For the person who LIKES that aesthetic, that's fine—Passivhaus is an easy sell. It's considerably more difficult to sell an average Joe Homeowner on it, especially if new construction is going into small infill lots.

I think overall it's going to be difficult for home purchasers to warm up to and adopt Passivhaus designs regardless of upfront carbon costs and lifetime operating carbon costs. In the UK, just 233,000 new homes were supplied in 2021/22, according to the UK Parliament—and according to the UK Office for National Statistics there's 26.4 million homes throughout England and Wales. In other words, new construction is just 1% of total stock, and as I've pointed out so many, many times before on TreeHugger, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is dealing with the carbon use in EXISTING inventory, not new. It's why I've said weatherizing existing homes to be more energy efficient is going to be far better at moving the needle on residential and commercial energy consumption than trying to turn it all into Passivhaus standards. I also recognize Lloyd's preoccupation with architectural design on new construction fitting into the upfront carbon cost/Passivhaus world paradigm because that's literally his job—but stepping back to look at the situation from an elevation of 40,000 feet paints a much different picture.

tl;dr ... Passivhaus won't save us unless exterior aesthetic can be more diverse to appeal to more people and retrofitting current housing stock can make financial sense on carbon saved.

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