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Passive House

Passive House is a building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable and affordable at the same time.

Insulation, Windows, Airtightness,
Insulation, Windows, Airtightness,Ventilation and no Thermal Bridge
Passive House is a holistic construction certification standard, allowing Certified Passive House professionals flexibility to determine the most suitable building geometry based on usage and location.
    Sufficient insulation is what’s needed within the building’s envelope, providing enough thermal separation between the heated or cooled conditioned inside environment and the outdoors.

    It’s not just the solid areas of your building envelope that need to have good levels of insulation but your windows too. No more single glazing, but instead low-emissivity double or triple glazing with thermally broken or non-metal frames.

    The incorporation of a mechanical ventilation unit means that you simply don’t need to rely on opening them to achieve good indoor air quality. The unit effectively recovers heat and cooling that would otherwise be wasted.

    An essential part of every Passive House is an air tight building envelope. This ensures that there are only a very limited amount of gaps and cracks within your envelope, giving you full control over your internal environment and significantly improving thermal comfort.
    The insulation not only needs to be sufficient in thickness but also needs to be continuous. This means keeping penetrations through the insulation to an absolute minimum, and if not avoidable then using materials that are less conductive to heat and/or incorporating thermal breaks.
  • Information sourced from the Australian Passive House Association.

Passive House

is more than just a low-energy building

Passive Houses make efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery, rendering conventional heating systems unnecessary throughout even the coldest of winters. During warmer months, Passive Houses make use of passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading to keep comfortably cool.

Passive Houses allow for space heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared to average new builds. Passive Houses use less than 1.5 l of oil or 1.5 m3 of gas to heat one square meter of living space for a year – substantially less than common “low-energy” buildings. Vast energy savings have been demonstrated in warm climates where typical buildings also require active cooling.

Passive Houses are praised for the high level of comfort they offer. Internal surface temperatures vary little from indoor air temperatures, even in the face of extreme outdoor temperatures. Special windows and a building envelope consisting of a highly insulated roof and floor slab as well as highly insulated exterior walls keep the desired warmth in the house – or undesirable heat out.

A ventilation system imperceptibly supplies constant fresh air, making for superior air quality without unpleasant draughts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.

Does it cost more to build a passive building compared to a conventional equivalent?

In Australia, building energy standards are lower than in many parts of Europe, and it is relatively difficult to source some high quality components here. The extra cost will depend greatly upon design, size of project, quality of finishes and so forth, but typically a range of 10 – 20% should be prepared, assuming the builder has some experience and training in this type of construction. However, recent local social housing projects are suggesting very small additional costs.

The more large-scale window and door manufacturers bring high-performance products to the Australian market, economies of scale will drive down costs. The cost is usually offset by the massive reduction in energy bills, and the elimination of heavy mechanical heating and cooling units. With increasing energy prices, the question to ask yourself is ‘Can I afford not to build a Passive House’?

Passive House explained in 90 seconds

Ever wondered if your heating or air conditioning in your house is really necessary? Passive House (Passivhaus) is a design approach to buildings that reduces the energy required drastically. This video explains briefly in 90 seconds how it’s done.

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