Is passive housing for you?

2022-10-25 13:10

Very low energy demand, simple forms, minimal heat losses, adequate comfort of use, the use of renewable energy sources, and finally – operating costs optimized to a minimum. These are just some of the features of passive construction, which is becoming more and more popular on the market.

More than energy efficient

Often the slogan „energy-efficient construction” is misinterpreted; it is most often confused or used interchangeably with passive construction. Nothing could be more wrong – passive construction is a much more advanced form than energy construction.

So what are the properties of a passive house? First of all, its characteristic feature is adequate thermal insulation and very low energy demand – less than 15 kWh m2 per year. It is about 7-8 times less than in the case of construction in accordance with the standards.

Maximum energy savings, minimum heat loss

Passive building begins at the design stage, which takes into account a number of construction and material solutions. This type of construction is to ensure the greatest possible recovery of energy coming from nature and to build facilities in such a way that their energy demand is as low as possible and prevents the formation of thermal bridges. The escape of generated heat should be as low as possible. Houses are designed as simple and compact as possible, preferably in the form of a rectangle, square or cylinder. The roof should be pitched facing south in order to be able to install solar panels on it. An important issue is the functional arrangement of the rooms, so that the daylight ones, which need light, such as a living room or kitchen, are located on the sunniest, southern side and are the most glazed. An additional advantage will be the construction of glazed, built-up terraces (so-called winter gardens) on the south side, which are a kind of thermal insulation.

The highest quality materials

Passive houses, apart from a well-thought-out design and construction solutions, are characterized by being made of the highest quality materials. The appropriate thickness of the insulation layer is to ensure effective energy properties and have an appropriate heat transfer coefficient – it should not exceed 0.10 W / m2K for external partitions. All materials used are to ensure the greatest possible tightness and the lowest heat transfer. Passive house walls are usually two or three tiers.

Passive window

The basic principle of window selection in passive houses is very simple – the most glazed spaces are placed on the south side, and avoided on the north side, because the heat “leakage” is greatest there. A window in a passive house should have a very low heat transfer coefficient, it cannot be higher than 0.8 W / m2K. The windows should be three-glazed, very carefully made, of high quality, and properly installed. Choosing the correct windows is crucial as they are the element most susceptible to heat leaks.

Leak test

Each passive building should be tested for airtightness by means of a pressure test to verify the number of air changes inside the building with pressure differences.

Without the use of fossil fuels

As a rule, in passive construction, heating, in which fossil fuels are used, is abandoned, and ecological energy sources such as a heat pump or energy from a photovoltaic installation are opted for. There are also no plans to install central heating, which will be replaced by mechanical ventilation and exhaust heat recovery. Passive construction assumes that the heat accumulated inside the environment is distributed through ventilation to all rooms.

In addition to many advantages for the individual user, passive construction also works for the benefit of the environment, bringing many tangible benefits, such as reducing harmful gas emissions or increasing energy production from renewable sources.

The passive house undeniably fits into the vision of the construction of the future – low-emission, intelligent, optimized and comfort-oriented.

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