About a Passive House
When it comes to planning to build a house, we tend to pay close attention to specific details. Things like the costs, architectural design, and also how comfortable and functional it will be on completion. However, more and more of us are also starting to add energy efficiency to that list. If you want a house that looks good, is comfortable, and energy efficient, then you might want to consider building (or transforming your current home into) a passive house.
But what exactly is a passive house? This is a building that, as a standard, is affordable, comfortable, but also energy efficient and environmentally friendly. This page will take you through information with regards to how you should proceed with regards to building a passive house, as well as the costs that are associated with construction, and even how you can benefit from a passive house. In addition to this, there are several other useful tips you can benefit from.
What Is a Passive House?
The concept of a passive house originated in Germany, where it is known as Passivhaus. It is important to note, at this point, that a passive house is not a brand name, but a concept within construction that can be applied by absolutely anyone, both commercially and residentially. A passive house is built so that it is comfortable and energy efficient all at once, and without using traditional heating systems or active cooling.
The passive house uses passive heat sources, so things like the energy from the sun, and the heat from running household appliances and the extracted air that comes from this. This allows most of the heating demands to be covered. The remaining energy needs in a passive house are usually supplied via renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or heat pumps. The active utilisation of this existing energy is one of the main things that are associated with a passive house. They also optimise thermal gain, while minimising thermal losses at the same time. By using existing temperature, the required energy for heating the home is 90% lower than that which is needed for a conventional house.
Requirements for a Passive House
There are certain specifications that a house needs to fill before it can be considered a passive house. The three basic requirements are as follows:
- a passive house needs to have heating demands lower than 15 kWh per square meter annually (kWh/m²a)
- a passive house needs to have primary energy demands (such as warm water, heating, house appliances) lower than 120 kWh/m²a
- a passive house must pass a pressure test and the pressure must be limited to 50 Pascal’s with the pressure differential not exceeding 0.6 times a room’s volume per hour (n50 < 0.6 h-1)
In order for a passive house to be able to have such low energy demands, it needs to be constructed in a certain way. A passive house needs to have a high level of insulation, as well as thermal bridge free construction. This is where heat is transferred through a poorly insulated part of a wall, and it cannot happen in a passive house.
It needs to have airtight windows as well as doors, and a mechanical ventilation system that also uses heat recovery and heat efficiency. It also needs to make use of passive solar gains. In addition to this, a passive house should also have low energy appliances and energy efficient lights.
Why Build a Passive House?
By investing in a passive house, you will be able to benefit from reduced heating bills, and at the same time have a positive impact on the environment. A passive house is a sustainable construction, and it provides you with a 75% reduction in space heating requirements when compared to conventional households. Along with saving money on your heating bills, building a passive house means that you will not be using fossil fuels, which means a reduction in your carbon emissions. A passive house also provides you with a climate that is constant and spreads heat evenly.
Tips for Building a Passive House
A passive house is a sustainable construction that provides you with affordable, comfortable, and healthy living conditions in a high-quality building. However, it may seem a little tricky to build a passive house. With a set of basic rules that you should follow when you make plans to invest in a passive house, things become much easier. When building a passive house, it is important to keep the following in mind:
A passive house must be south facing due to the fact that a building like this requires solar energy as one of the main sources of heat. It is equally important to note that large windows should be installed on the south side of your house, with as little glazing towards the north as possible.
It is also important to ensure that no trees or chimneys cast any kind of shadow into your passive house, as it is very dependent on the heat generated by the sun’s energy.
There must be an excellent level of insulation in a passive house, and this is something that needs to be given close and careful attention. The proper insulation is what keeps the passive house warm during the winter months.
In addition to fantastic insulation, a passive house also requires an incredibly air-tight level of construction. Every element of a passive house ensures that the heat that is generated in the house is secured, and therefore you will have as little thermal loss through windows and doors as possible. Pressurisation tests are also able to determine whether or not our passive house has air-tight construction.
Following on from the concept of air-tight construction, it is also important to make sure that your passive house has triple glazed windows, doors, and roof lights with insulated frames.
Due to that fact that a passive house needs to be incredibly air-tight, you also need to make sure that it has the correct ventilation, ensuring a constant supply of fresh air. This can be achieved by installing a heat recovery ventilation system.
Thinking About Building a Passive House?
If you find the concept of a passive house intriguing, then it might be an idea to do a little more research into what it takes to build one. If you are thinking about doing this, then we can make the process a little easier for you. All you need to do is fill out the form on this page, and we will contact you with some of our best and most trusted suppliers. You will be able to discuss your needs with them, and they will help you through the process of planning your dream passive house. The service is obligation free, and incredibly easy.