2019 Passivhaus Open Days

Make the most of this rare opportunity to experience one of England's few privately owned, Passivhaus Certified homes.

Where do you want to go?

Between 29th and 30th June 2019 

Larch Corner Passivhaus by Mark Siddall

Larch Corner Passivhaus - Open 29th June


Shepherds Barn Mark Siddall

Shepherds Barn Retrofit - Open 30th June

(Lanchester, County Durham)

Make the most of this rare opportunity, experience the North East's only privately owned Certified Passivhaus.

Trevor Gospel Is Opening The Front Door To The Public
- Perhaps For The Last Time.


Between 9th and 10th November 2019 

Preston Springs Passivhaus - Open 9th November

(near Leyburn, North Yorkshire)

Self Build Northumberland Passivhaus LEAP Steel Farm Mark Siddall

Steel Farm Passivhaus - Open 10th November

(near Hexham, Northumberland)

Make the most of this rare opportunity, experience the North East's only privately owned Certified Passivhaus.

Trevor Gospel Is Opening The Front Door To The Public
- Perhaps For The Last Time.

​Visit Northumberland's Only Passivhaus
Passivhaus Open Days

​Registration Closes In:


This year let's support cancer charity Bright Red

...and punch cancer in the face. 

Hello and welcome.

Thank you for coming to learn about the Passivhaus Open Days.

I'm Mark Siddall, the architect that designed these houses and oversaw their construction. This year I am arranging the Open Day event on behalf of a growing number of home owners. 

It's the first time Larch Corner Passivhaus and Shepherds Barn EnerPHit have been opened to the public - so you're in for a real treat. 

Which ever house you choose to visit access to the open day is FREE, however there is a cap on the total number of visitors and the size of groups. Because large groups of people have proven impractical on previous open days, we are limiting tour groups to no more than 6 people.

Qualifying visitors can bring a guest - however they must pre-register as well.

All this means access is limited, so please pre-register early PLUS, the registration process has been updated (more about that a little later).

You might be thinking, where are the houses? Out of respect for each homeowners privacy the precise location - post code, etc. is kept under wraps until you've registered. A day or two before your visit, I'll send you all the information you'll need.

In the mean time consider this:

- Shepherds Barn is less than 5 minutes from the middle of Lanchester, County Durham

- Larch Corner Passivhaus is about 30 minutes from Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire

- Steel Farm is 20 minutes or so from Hexham, Northumberland

- Preston Springs Passivhaus is about 10 minutes from Leyburn, North Yorkshire

The Best Two Reasons To Visit ​These Passivhaus Homes

There is nothing quite like experiencing a Passivhaus for the first time. Words can't capture how it feels and what it's really like. Some people have even described ​them as tranquil and serene. 

When you visit you will discover firsthand how the air feels fresher, the temperature feels more 'right', how you have more control over your comfort, how a well designed ventilation system is quieter than a whisper, and how there are no perceptible drafts.

PLUS, you will get to experience a little of the what it's like to live in a house with excellent daylight, optimised views of the scenic countryside, and how a tailor-made room layout that suites your needs precisely can enhance your lifestyle.

You will also get to see how easy it can be to maintain the ventilation system and how good plumbing design can really make a difference to how you experience living in your home. It all sounds simple, and it can be, but you'll only understand when you get your chance to experience it for yourself. ...You'll even see the tiny gas cylinders used to heat these homes.

Finally you will also have the opportunity to discover more about the design and construction by speaking to myself.

With a little luck Richard, Helen and Trevor will be on hand to tell you about their experience of building and living in their house.

In addition to seeing the house you will have the opportunity to meet other people from the self-build community. Whic means you will have the chance to swap ideas, trade stories and help each other progress your project.

Regardless of these things your visit to Preston Springs or Steel Farm should, one way or another, help you to clarify what it is that you do, or do not, want from your new home.

What other people are saying:

"The thing I liked most about the house was the sense of protection from the elements.  It was very windy when we were there but inside it was quiet and peaceful."
- Carole Price

"There is a lot of light from the windows and good use of the views. Congratulations on a really successful build and evidently it has been relatively trouble-free and low maintenance. We enjoyed our visit enormously.”
- Anon

"I felt the front of the house was very inviting and gave the feeling that the house was rather grand, the stairs and lighting add to this feeling. There was something inviting about it, I think the entrance hall added to this experience, giving you that homely inviting appeal as you walked through the front door."
- Graeme Little

"The one thing that struck me the most was the excellent light levels together with the views from windows."
- Frances Hinton

Why not indulge in the Passivhaus Experience?

Between 29th and 30th June 2019 

Between 9th and 10th November 2019 

So who should be interested in the open day? 

The Passivhaus Open Days are run to help the public gain a better appreciation about what it is like to experience living in a Passivhaus. Whether you are looking to build a new home, or refurbish an existing one, this event should be of interest to you.

In short if you are looking to build a new home, or refurbish an existing one and want to start a building project within the next 12 to 18 months then this is an event that you shouldn't miss.

....but why is the Passivhaus Open Day important, and why should you come?

Whilst it may sound a little over dramatic it is actually fair to say that...

The UK Homebuilding Industry is in Crisis

Over the last 20 years studies by Leeds Beckett University have shown that new homes are not performing correctly. They use more energy than they should, are less comfortable and pose a risk to your health and well being. This means that when hiring an architect or a builder you and your family may not be getting the quality that you are paying for.

Luckily Leeds Beckett University have also found that with the correct design and construction these performance issues can be addressed.

The research suggests that many of the lessons for addressing the homebuilding crisis can be found in homes built to the Passivhaus Standard.

The Passivhaus Standard is the world's leading quality assurance standard for ultra low energy buildings. It is the pinnacle of best practice. The decision to construct a well executed home that satisfies this standard presents a number of benefits and opportunities. These include:

1.  Reducing space heating bills by 90% as compared to the average home
2.  Reducing hot water bills by 50% through the use of appropriate plumbing design, taps and appliances
3. How the fossil fuel used for domestic hot water was cut by 80% when we combined water efficiency with solar thermal panels
4.  Providing a strategy for reducing electrical energy use by over 50%
5.  Providing excellent standards of thermal comfort with little recourse for space heating
6.  Addressing the health and well being of the occupants by providing homes that are appropriately ventilated whilst keeping noise levels to a minimum. This includes reducing the risk of asthma attacks, reduced incidence of hay fever and other allergies and, the thing that surprised me most, reduced pain from arthritis.
7.  Reduced risk of mould growth and cold spots. This not only extends the life of building components but also protects the health of the occupants.
8.  Increasing resilience to rising fuel prices and prices fluctuations in a robust manner - thereby minimising, if not mitigating, the risk of fuel poverty in the future
9.  Conserving fossil fuels for future generations
10.  Cutting carbon emissions which is good for the environment and our kids.

Whether you are looking to build a new home, or refurbish an existing one, this event should be of interest to you.

My Personal Mission

For over 10 years, since I learned about the homebuilding crisis, I have been assisting with the transformation of the construction industry. I've delivered training to professions and students and, of course, I've completed building projects.

Over the years I've found that the best way to transform the construction industry is to create change from within. And that means by getting more cutting edge projects out there!

It is for this reason, and because of some lessons learned from earlier open day events, that I'm trying something different.

​This Year There Is A Qualification Process

Sadly, because of the first-come-first-served policy I used in the past, some of self-builders, retrofitters and ethical property developers got turned away from the open days - even though they were actively wanting to complete a self-build, or to retrofit their home.

That's why I'm trailing a different kind of application process this year.

Within the construction industry self-builders and retrofitters are known for spearheading better quality standards (as are ethical property developers). They are therefore the people that can benefit most from visiting Steel Farm and learning about the house and how it was built.

If you are a self-builder, retrofitter or an ethical property developer then I consider it my duty to support you - whether or not you choose to work with me at some point in the future.

(This is one of the best ways I can support the transformation of the construction industry and help with efforts to overcome the homebuilding crisis.)

This year the Open Days will focus on those people that have or are about to buy land and want to complete their project within the next 12 to 18 months.

This year an exclusive group, a group intent upon building or refurbishing new homes, will be given first option to visit Steel Farm this year.

Once the pro-active few have been given their chance see the house the remaining spaces will be allocated to regular members of the public that are simply interested or not in a position to move forward at this point in time.

To make sure no one leaves empty handed I have prepared a documentary series for everyone that registers (this way I can still help those people that are interested but are not yet in a position to move their project forward.)

I hope that sounds fair.

Here's what to do next:

In order to help manage the numbers there is a short two step qualification procedure.

Step 1: Enter your name and email address into the the registration form below. (When the time is right this will allow me to send you the 3 free videos and to send you more details should your application be accepted.)

Step 2: Please complete the short questionnaire. This will allow me to prioritise those people that can make the most difference and enable me to give them first option for visiting Steel Farm.

Qualifying visitors can bring a guest - however they must pre-register as well. Access is limited, so please pre-register early.

Step 3: After the 5th November I will confirm the dates and times of attendance, and I'll give you all the information that you need to get to the house on the day. 

Deep down you know you want to join us ;-)

Between 29th and 30th June 2019 

Between 9th and 10th November 2019