Who we are
Justin Bere BA(Hons) DipArch RIBA ARB FRSA
One of the UK’s foremost Passivhaus practitioners, Justin Bere has over 20 years post-qualification experience as an architect and is a leader in the adoption of the Passivhaus standard in the UK and a passionate advocate of ecological and environmental design. Justin is a member of numerous professional and passivhaus committees and organisations and was instrumental in setting up the UK's first passivhaus conference and a founder of the UK's Passivhaus Trust.
His practice, bere:architects, has won numerous design awards and won the Building Research Establishment's Passivhaus competition in 2012. As a result, two Passivhaus homes will be built at the BRE Watford Innovation Park, for research and disemination purposes and these will build upon the lessons learnt from the Passivhaus low cost social housing prototypes that the practice completed in Wales, also won in a BRE competition in 2010. The Welsh prototypes included the UK's first zero carbon, CSH code 6 passivhaus, and the UK's first code 5 passivhaus. In 2010 the practice also completed London's first passivhaus and jointly England's first certified passivhaus. This house, in Camden, also shows how easily a passivhaus home can exceed the UK's 2016 zero carbon compliance target without even needing any photovoltaic panels. The practice also completed the UK's first non-domestic full passivhaus retrofit project which was certified in 2011, and is working on numerous other domestic and non-domestic new build and retrofit Passivhaus projects. Current work in 2012 includes University, Housing Association and Local Authority clients as well as English, German, Swiss and American private clients.
Justin’s interest in research and its dissemination make this a vital and integral part of bere:architects’ work. Meticulously attentive to the development of both design and technical skills, Justin's practice has invested heavily in specialist equipment and in-house expertise in thermal modelling, thermal imaging, energy modelling, building physics, and in-use energy measurement and ‘soft landings’ protocols. Justin initiated an 18 month knowledge transfer partnership with the Austrian timber prefabrication experts, Kaufmann Zimmerei. This has embedded the most advanced European timber framing technology expertise within the practice, along with practical knowledge of the highest standards of low toxicity, health enhancing construction. The result is that the practice is now a leading UK expert in the highest quality of timber frame design, built efficiently to achieve the lowest possible cost. Justin also initiated a three year ongoing partnership with Bayer Schreinerei and this has embedded unrivalled knowledge in the UK of advanced high performance passivhaus window and door construction and installation techniques.
The practice holds unrivalled expertise in low cost passivhaus building techniques and Justin initiated and runs the UK's Passivhaus Cost Project (PHCP) with leading social housing providers.
With a passionate belief in the urgent environmental need for change, Justin’s team freely passes on the skills of the practice to other architects and contractors through active involvement in a number of dissemination programmes hosted by organisations including the RIBA through its Flash programme and in partnership with the Institute of Sustainability, and most recently with the BRE. Justin is also a keen advocate of UK manufacturing and initiated and freely organised the design of the UK’s first certified passivhaus window which was handed over to a group of Welsh window manufacturers to manufacture and to market.
The practice has also initiated energy performance monitoring and evaluation research work on six of its passivhaus projects. This work is carried out in partnership with Universities and other research organisations and funded by the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board with the purpose of obtaining objective advice for b:a and their teams of consultants and disseminating lessons into the wider community. First results will be published in 2012, but already outstandingly good co-heating test results and other excellent results were reported at the 2011 UK Passivhaus Conference.
The drive for the highest level of commitment and expertise is rarely matched in other architectural practices of any size within the UK and as a result, bere:architects are offering practical solutions to the Government’s energy efficiency targets that have the potential to provide a route map to the UK's 2016 carbon reduction targets.