What is a Passivhaus?
Passivhaus is one of the world’s leading low-energy, sustainable building standards. We are one of the few specialist architecture and design studios with expertise designing these types of bespoke homes, from concept to technical drawings and specifications across the UK. Buildings meeting this high standard provide increased occupant comfort whilst using minimal energy for heating and cooling. Passivhaus centres around 5 key criterion briefly outlined here;
1 – Insulation
Passivhaus buildings use lots of insulation to improve the thermal efficiency of the walls. This not only ensure that the building can retain heat in the winter, but also reduces heat gain in the summer months. This helps to achieve a relatively constant internal temperature throughout the year.
2 – High Performance Windows and Frames
In any building, the windows account for a significant proportion of heat loss. A Passivhaus building is required to use windows with high thermal efficiency both for the glass and the frame. Typically, this means installing triple glazed windows in a frame which contains a thermal break.
3 – Airtightness
Another area where buildings tend to lose valuable heat is through gaps in the building fabric. As well as heat loss, these gaps also create drafts within the building which reduces the level of comfort for occupants. A Passivhaus building must be detailed to ensure that there are as few gaps as possible by using special tapes and membranes.
4 – Mechanical Ventilation
With such strict measures on air tightness and the emphasis on keeping a constant internal temperature, you might wonder how you can ensure that the air is fresh. A special mechanical ventilation system
5 – Reduced Thermal Bridging
Thermal bridging occurs when elements of the construction break the insulation line. This allows heat to be lost through the building structure. In order to ensure a high level of efficiency, its is crucial that these bridges are kept to a minimum. To remove them all together would be best practise, and this relies on Passivhaus being on the agenda from the very beginning of the project.