What is Passive House Design?
Imagine a building that is:
Endlessly comfortable, yet has very limited needs for heating and cooling;
Fully solar-powered, omitting exposure to any energy price increase;
Accommodating to any architecture, while costing little more to construct;
Virtually maintenance-free, ultimately keeping its market value.
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What does Passive House mean?
The term 'Passive House' (originally derived from the German word Passivhaus) relates to a building's reaction to its external environment.
Passive House is a collection of design principles used to create buildings which are thermally stable, highly energy-efficient and comfortable for the occupants, regardless of varying weather conditions, or solar aspects.
Passive House concepts are not to be confused with 'Solar Passive' concepts. Solar Passive design principles rely heavily on the collection of winter sunlight by maximising northern sun exposure and the use of thermal mass to keep that heat inside the building.
Passive House buildings work with any architecture. They can be lightweight, any shape or size, and even without solar exposure. These buildings behave just like eskies. They are perfectly insulated and airtight. Unless (triple-glazed) windows or doors are opened, neither cold, heat, rain, wind, nor noise are felt inside the building.
However, as Passive House buildings barely lose heat, solar heat gain control for windows is paramount during the summer half year. This calls for the use of external shading technologies such as external blinds, screens or shutters. Eaves and solar-control glazing (tinted glazing) are ineffective and cannot be adjusted.
Passive House buildings feature mechanised energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems, supplying fresh air to the entire house during weather periods when windows and doors are better not opened for thermal or humidity reasons. Minimal heating and cooling is added to, and/or integrated with the ERV system, as it should not be required when building to the Passive House standard.