A concept that is widely used today to reduce gas emissions, save energy and protect the environment, is the construction of passive houses or energy-efficient houses. These types of buildings are designed to reduce energy consumption using thermal and insulating materials and taking advantage of the sun’s rays and the heat given off by the occupants of the building.
Passive houses are energy efficient building sdesigned to help reduce its heating needs and energy demand
What are passive houses?
Passive house or Passivhaus (new concept and standard emerged in Germany) is a building that is truly energy efficient.
The main features of a passive house are the followings:
- Makes efficient use of the solar energy and internal heat resources, using solar panels to generate electricity, for example.
- Building envelopes (windows, doors, roof, floor and walls) are highly insulated and keep the desired warmth in the house, or undesirable heat out.
- Passive houses use mechanical ventilation systems to supply constant fresh air.
- Building location and orientation on the site are key elements of passive house building.
- The interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems.
How many passive houses in the world
It is estimated that there are more than 60.000 passive house buildings in use worldwide, including most European countries, the United States, Canada, Japan and India, to mention but a few.
What are the benefits of passive house buildings
Passive houses are comfortable, energy efficient and affordable at the same time. The main advantages of passive houses are:
Passive houses have a low maintenance cost and reduce significantly the use of electrical and other energy sources. The electricity bill will be reduced in this type of building.
Passive houses are energy efficient because they deliver more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input.
A totally quiet house
Passive houses provide a quiet indoor environment. The outdoor insulation and windows installed make such buildings extremely quiet and comfortable. This benefit is clearly viewed in buildings located in urban areas, where occupants are protected from noise pollution.
High indoor air quality
The ventilation systems installed in passive house buildings provide a constant supply of fresh air. Pollutants and odors are removed from inside whilst maintaining a comfortable indoor air temperature.
How much do passive houses cost
Passive house construction costs vary according to the types of materials and qualified professionals. Encraft, one of the uPVC manufacturing market leaders, carried out a cost analysis and estimated that passive house building cost 10% more to build.
Passive houses also have financial savings (e.g. taxes and fees) and vary from country to country.
Passive houses are truly high-performance buildings that are definitely getting a lot of traction nowadays. These buildings provide a more comfortable indoor environment and reduce energy consumption bills.
The passive house standard is suitable for all kinds of buildings and in all kinds of climate zones. It should be no surprise anymore if most of the buildings constructed will follow that standard, in the near future.