Understanding the Passivehaus

• August 30, 2013

Understanding the Passivhaus

When we think of something which is airtight, a modern, comfortable living space is not usually the first thing which springs to mind. However the future of sustainable building would beg to differ. And with the introduction of the Passivhaus, this dream became something more of a reality. Since then architects and looking for ways in which the Passivhaus can be both replicated and improved. But what is the Passivhaus? How can we understand it? And what benefits does it bring to both the environment, and to the people who dwell within?

The History of Passive Houses

The concept of the passive house has been around for quite some time, and not just within the realms of science fiction. Low energy requirements have been a legal directive in Sweden and Denmark since the mid-1980s, and it was out of this climate that the first passive houses were born. Nicknamed ‘Passivehaus’, the passive house model has since seen replicas popping up all over the world.

How a Passive House Works

The simple definition of a passive house is one which consumes an extremely low amount of energy, thanks to internal heat sources and the minimisation of incoming air. One such building, which was constructed in 2012 near Milton Keynes, was believed to be the most airtight building in the world, with an air circulation measurement of just 0.065. Modern houses typically have an air leakage percentage of between 25 and 40%, so the low number for the Milton Keynes property is, indeed, considerable.

How is Airtightness Achieved?

Airtightness is achieved in passive houses through a complex mixture of building and interior design. Not only that, but passive houses are intended to be so from day one of construction, so sustainable materials tend to be favoured. However airtightness can be achieved retroactively as well, which means good news for homeowners who are looking to improve the efficiency of their own property. If you fall into this category, companies such as the Mark Group, can provide you with a thorough assessment of your home’s energy wastage and advise you on solutions to reduce leakage. Insulation is, of course, one of the top priorities, which is why so many passive houses have been built into the landscape. But without this option available, existing homeowners would do well to improve their loft, cavity wall and underfloor insulation, as this has been proven to have a significant effect on sustainability.

Category: Design, Industrial

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