PassivHaus (Passive House)
PassivHaus – an introduction
PassivHaus (or Passive House) is the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world with over 30,000 buildings constructed to date. As an approach the PassivHaus scheme requires the building of a house that has an excellent thermal performance, exceptional air tightness with mechanical ventilation. This approach aims to minimise the heating requirements, to the point of sometimes only specifying a towel rail as a means of conventional heating. Heat is recovered and circulated by a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit.
The Passive house standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990’s and was designed not only to be used by residential dwellings but also to commercial, industrial and public buildings. The development of the standard led to the following functional definition:
“A Passivhaus is a building, for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
The basic principles of PassivHaus
Unlike more generic approaches, Passive House standards achieve thermal comfort through the use of passive measures such as:
- Good levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges
- Passive solar gains and internal heat sources
- Excellent level of airtightness
- Good indoor air quality by utilising MVHR units.
PassivHaus as a home to live in
As fuel prices continue to rise, the benefits of PassivHaus become more apparent. A Passive House has a maximum heating demand of less than 15 kWh per square metre per year (this compares to a typical building regulations compliant new build house of approximately 65 kWh per square meter per year, which in itself is substantially better than many existing houses).
Research into completed PassivHaus buildings has been undertaken to prove that the designed performance is achieved in practice. The research also found that the internal temperature of a Passive House will not fall below 16 degrees Celsius (even without heating)
Please contact our Certified PassivHaus Designer today to discuss how your project could benefit to the PassivHaus standard.