Gentoo plans 28-unit sustainable development using German housebuilding standard

A Sunderland-based developer has unveiled plans for the first major PassivHaus scheme in the UK.

Gentoo will build the 28-unit bungalow scheme, intended for use by elderly residents, in Houghton-le-Spring near Sunderland.

PassivHaus is the German sustainable housebuilding model which reduces energy by up to 80% using passive solar gain and extremely high standards of insulation. Buildings use an advanced mechanical ventilation system which takes away the need for radiators or traditional plumbing.


More than 4,000 PassivHaus units have been built in mainland Europe, but there are as yet no completed developments in the UK.

Allan Thompson, director of operations at Gentoo Homes, said that the development would push the boundaries of housing design in the UK.

He said: “This innovative development fits well with our new vision, mission and values as well as our ambitious environmental sustainability agenda, and we’re eager to get started with something we hope could set a standard for other UK housebuilders in the future.”

The bungalows have been designed with the help of architects Dewjo’c and will be built by Gentoo’s inhouse contractors. It is expected to start on site early in 2009.