Passivhaus is the leading design standard in low energy buildings, and it’s easy to see why there are many Passivhaus buildings being developed all across the UK, with 65,000 buildings worldwide already certified to this high-quality and efficient standard. With planning and development for Passivhaus builds on the increase, here’s a quick introduction into the new way to build in the UK.
What is Passivhaus?
Passivhaus is a German design standard, which in English directly translates to “Passive House”. The Passivhaus institute in Germany summarise the design standard as “a building in which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling the fresh air flow required for a good indoor air quality, without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
Typical qualities of a Passivhaus Standard build include very high levels and performance of insulation and windows with insulated frame, airtight building fabric, ‘thermal bridge free’ construction and a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery. This building standard is characterised by meticulous attention to detail, along with rigorous design and construction in order to pass the quality assurance process. Designers follow the Passive House Planning Package to achieve this.
Advantages of Passivhaus
The overarching key benefit of the Passivhaus design standard is energy efficiency, which results in carbon reduction and reduction in heating and air conditioning requirements in a home. Through their meticulous and innovative design, Passivhaus buildings are so efficiently insulated and ventilated that there’s very little requirement to heat or cool inside the building, saving a large amount of energy from being wasted across the world.
Through the design, heat is retained from the sun and the activities of the occupants, and cooler air from outside is ventilated when required. Passivhaus buildings are known to maintain a comfortable temperature in any season due to their complex but effective internal workings.
Although the upfront costs to design, plan and build a Passivhaus are higher than other building standards in the UK, there amazing energy saving properties redeem them as a cost effective investment for property developers, local authorities, housing associations and anybody with an interest and desire to build a more environmentally sound future. St Sidwell’s Point Swimming Pool in Exeter is a prime example of a local authority investing in the future by developing Passivhaus buildings which over the decades will reduce energy consumption considerably.
Through their energy saving designs, Passivhaus buildings are an investment for the future in more ways than one.
If you’re considering planning your own Passivhaus build, there’s ample information online from sources such as the Passivhaus Institute and Energy Saving Trust to provide further information about how the design works and standard requirements, and we’ve also written a post which debunks some Passivhaus myths.