The Passivhaus is the opportunity for action


A Passivhaus is a building which needs very little energy for heating and cooling from outside sources: It needs 15kWh/(m2a)of energy in one year, which is the equivalent of 1.5 litre of fuel oil per square metre. An old property needs about 20 litres of fuel oil per square metre in one year. At the same time a Passivhaus provides all the comfort one expects from a modern building. How can this be achieved?


[UKPRwire, Mon Feb 16 2009] A Passivhaus is a building which needs very little energy for heating and cooling from outside sources: It needs 15kWh/(m2a)of energy in one year, which is the equivalent of 1.5 litre of fuel oil per square metre. An old property needs about 20 litres of fuel oil per square metre in one year. At the same time a Passivhaus provides all the comfort one expects from a modern building. How can this be achieved?

The shell of the building has insulation layers of 25 40 cm thickness and highly energy efficient windows with u-values of 0.8 or less. (A single glazed window has a u-value of 5.) The building therefore is air tight and in the winter the heat stays in the building. A waste heat recovery system expels the old air and at the same time heats up the incoming air. The air in the building stays fresh and warm.

Ideally a Passivhaus is south facing and most of the heating is done by solar gain, the people in the building and the appliances such as computers, fridges and lights. In the summer the windows are protected from solar gain by external blinds and louvers so the building stays cool.

The Passivhaus standard can be applied to different construction methods such brick structures or timber frame. There are also excellent examples of old and refurbished properties. An architect can plan a Passivhaus and besides private properties there are now schools, kindergartens, offices and factories which are built to this standard.

An important part is the use of renewable technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps (ground, water or air) and heat recovery from waste water. All the appliances in the house such as fridge, freezer, lights and washing machine will have to be low energy and A-rated.

A Passivhaus currently costs 10% more than a standard new energy efficient building and in Germany special loans from the government up Euro 50.000 are available.

The first Passivhaus was built 17 years ago. In Germany there around 8000 properties built according to this standard and their occupants are very pleased with them as they provide comfortable living and workplaces.
thequietriot.com will run a series covering key aspects and products of a Passivhaus.

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