Passivhaus – The gold standard in energy efficiency

One of the best examples of an environmentally friendly, long term investment is Passivhaus, an eco-friendly housing type that has become quite popular in the last decade or so. A passive residence (German: Passivhaus) is a unique self-sustaining building which consumes energy through a natural passive system of building climate control, internal lighting, heating, and landscaping management. Passive homes are built on locations with predictable seasonal weather patterns and are designed to conserve energy use in the long term while maximizing energy efficiency. Most passive house buildings are certified by the German Federal Office for Environmental Protection (BEN) and the European Union (EU). Passive house buildings incorporate some or all of these features.

In addition to its energy efficiency features, passive buildings are located in locations with predictable climate conditions throughout the year. This enables the inhabitants of Passivhaus to anticipate their daily use of heat and light. The architecture of most passive homes include vertical columns and open floor plans. Aesthetics are almost never sacrificed for the conservation of energy.

A typical passive house is about two stories high and has about four hundred to five hundred square meters of living space. Buildings in Germany have been planned since the thirteenth century. The original design was intended to construct small defensive settlements during the Middle Ages. However, in addition to providing shelter, they were meant to be attractive dwellings as well. In addition to being used as homes, the dwellings served as places for farming and grazing livestock.

Passive Solar Energy

The use of passive solar energy was taken into consideration when planning the construction of most buildings in Germany. The use of passive solar energy in residences has been increasing rapidly throughout the past twenty years. As a result of this significant trend, many buildings in Germany and Europe are now utilising passive solar energy. Although it takes some effort to make changes in the way that energy consumption is handled in these passive houses, it is an energy-efficient solution for reducing carbon emissions. Passive solar energy in a passive house is capable of significantly improving the energy performance of such buildings.

Clapham Retrofit by Arboreal Architects

Passive solar heating systems in the design of most passive houses utilise a combination of on-site storage tanks, on-site storage spaces for cold water, and remote heat sources. The solar heat from collectors on the roof is captured and transferred to the space heating system through convection or radiation. These passive houses are designed to take full advantage of passive solar heat by taking advantage of natural daylight. To maximize space heating efficiency, all passive houses should contain at least one open wall space. If a residence has windows, they should be used to their fullest capacity – providing natural light to the building and using them to regulate internal temperature.

Most popular energy efficiency standard in the world

As new passive buildings are constructed, they must meet extremely high energy efficiency standards. Energy efficient models of the passive style are the most popular in the world, and many homes are designed with energy efficiency as one of their main goals. Because passive energy efficiency standards are so strict, passive houses and apartments are generally more expensive than their traditional counterparts that are not designed to passive house standards. However, there are many great ways to save money on your energy bills while still maintaining passive energy efficiency. Passivhaus not only helps save the planet but can be a cost-effective way of saving money on your energy bills and it is an excellent way to help reduce carbon emissions while striving to become more self-sufficient.

One of the most important passive house energy rating criteria is floor area. If a house has a low-house energy rating, the Passivhaus foundation is required to be constructed of a thickly insulated concrete foundation with steel decking. A low-house energy rating also means the architect will use thick walls to achieve the maximum efficiency. There is an energy rating standard for all Passivhaus buildings, which is based on the floor area of the house divided by its wall area. Any house that fails to meet these standards will receive a Passivhaus rating of zero on the Passivhaus energy rating scale.

Secondary Passivhaus criteria is for a heat recovery ventilation system (HCR). The HCR is an adjustable fan system that automatically opens and shuts to provide fresh air into the structure when needed and to keep heat in the house where it belongs. All houses should have a Passivhaus HCR; poorly built HCR systems will waste energy and make the Passivhaus house more expensive to heat and cool.

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