A building constructed using passive house principles is a very well insulated, virtually air tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc. Energy losses are minimised. Any remaining need for heat is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimised. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air quality.
A Passive building is a comprehensive system. “Passive” describes well the system’s underlying receptivity and retention capacity. Working with natural resources, free solar energy is captured and applied efficiently, instead of relying mainly on active systems to bring a building to ‘zero’ energy. High performance triple glazed windows, super insulation, an air tight building shell, limitation of thermal bridging and balanced energy recovery ventilation make possible extraordinary reductions in energy use and carbon emission.