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A passive house combines a high level of comfort with a very low energy consumption. It makes efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery ventilation to such a level that conventional heating systems are practically unnecessary.
A passive house enjoys a comfortable temperature in winter or summer and a much higher air quality than traditional construction.
A passive house is a healthier house that controls dust and pollen associated with hay fever and other allergies. A passive home controls humidity, eliminates mold and condensation that is associated with asthma and other respiratory diseases. A passive house does not have a specific construction method and can be built from any building material, even concrete!
What is special about a passive house?
- Exceptional high level of thermal insulation.
- Well insulated window frames and triple low-e glazing.
- Thermal bridge free construction, requiring a high level of design and detailed drawing.
- Airtight building envelope - no drafts.
- Healthier air quality with highly efficient heat recovery ventilation.
- Better build quality.
Advantages of a passive house
- Extremely low heating costs, even with rising oil prices.
- Healthier living environment, with reduced dust and pollen, controlled humidity and free of mold and condensation.
- High level of comfort - constant interior temperature.
- Greener and more environmentally friendly homes due to the huge reduction in CO2 emissions associated with space heating throughout the life of the home.
Facts and figures
A passive house uses no more than about 1.5 liters of heating oil per year for every square meter of living space. At current energy prices, this equates to around € 1.25 / m2 per year in heating costs. This is about one-tenth of a house traditionally built by today's standards.
Passive house planning and detail
A critical element for building passive houses is planning and drawing details. Before construction can begin on the site, all the House Planning and details must be carried out. This is accurately calculated using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software developed by the Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany. Issues that the Passive House designer would assess at the planning stage would include orientation, solar gain for windows, sun protection against overheating, cross ventilation in summer, non-thermal bridge details, shape and proportions of the structure, the shading, the U-values of the elements of heat loss, use of domestic hot water, boiler, tightness and ventilation.
Tried and tested
Several hundred passive houses have been scientifically monitored and rigorously tested. The consistently positive results are compelling. Thousands of passive houses have already been built, occupied and proven themselves, even in the extremely cold climates of the Scandinavian countries. The Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany, is the body that has the responsibility to ensure that the standards are followed. The Institute's certification is confirmation that the highest energy standards have been achieved.
The technical criteria of the passive house
The design criteria established by the Institute of the Passive House include the following:
- Specific heat demand of the space: Max. 15Kwh / m2.year.
- Pressurization test results (n50): Max. 0.6 changes / hour
- Complete Specific Primary Energy Demand: Max. 120Kwh / m2.year
It is necessary to meet the above criteria to obtain the official certification of the passive house.
Is it worth investing more money in a passive house?
Yes, the cost of building a passive house can amount to 5% and 20% more than the construction of an ordinary house, in some cases it does not even imply a higher cost if exclusively a bioclimatic design and a suitable envelope are used. . The savings in electricity and gas bills that this type of passive housing can provide amounts to 80%. As the extra cost (if it occurs) of this type of construction is so variable, the amortization can vary between 2 and 10 years, from that moment everything will be savings.