What is a Passive House?
The Passive House is the world's leading standard in energy efficient design. It is a construction concept that anyone can apply when building a new house. Properly built Passive House can save up to 90% of energy compared with how much energy a traditional building stock consumes.
Here at tinyhouse.lv we build as close to Passive House standards as possible. Through the different stages of construction there are principles that must be considered for a house to eventually save money for the owner and provide comfortable climate for its inhabitants. Client's needs and situations are different but we always walk through all of the aspects to eventually manufacture efficient build.
There are 5 basic principles when building a Passive House:
1. Thermal insulation
This is crucial no matter where the house shall be placed - in cold climates it is important to keep the warmth inside the build but in hot climates we want to keep the cool air in the house and not let the sun to overheat the build.
2. Passive House windows
This normally means at least triple-glazed windows. Again, this is not to let the warm air to escape through a thin glass or poorly built window frame. When deciding on windows of the house there are other crucial details to consider. For example large windows and skylights are beautiful but rather inefficient measured against Passive House standards.
This means that air cannot escape from the house and vice versa. Surely no house can be 100% airtight but we try to get as close as we can. Builders can achieve this by properly insulating and sealing the house, correctly installing the windows and doors, making sure there is no ventilation through joints or cracks.
It is a rather fancy term for a smart ventilation system with heat recovery. In case of an airtight build there comes a necessity for a good ventilation system - opening the windows from time to time will not be sufficient. Recuperation system constantly extracts air from inside the rooms to replaces it with fresh air from the outside that is being warmed up with the heat of the exhausted air. Thus the fresh air that is supplied is pre-heated using indoor warmth.
5. Thermal bridge free design
Structural connections may become thermal bridges - for example balconies, poorly insulated foundation and similar. Through thermal bridges the cold from the outside can penetrate the insulated and warm part of the building, resulting in low surface temperature and heat loss.
All of these factors have to be taken into consideration. The lack of implementing one can sabotage the efforts to build an efficient house altogether. For example, choosing double-glazed windows (with only two glass panes) will significantly reduce efforts to keep the warmth inside the house, no matter how thick the wall of the house is.
Passive House standards are not easy to achieve. But understanding the principles, implementing them and having the will to reduce the energy consumption is the only way forward.
Here at tinyhouse.lv we believe that a good, efficient house should be achievable to majority of people.
For more information on Passive Houses please refer to passipedia.org.