Why Build a Passive House

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.

What are the Benefits of a Passive House?

For many years the Passive House standard has been quietly spreading across Europe, applied both to residential and commercial buildings.  Architects and builders are using such standards to construct buildings that use up to 80% less heating and cooling energy. Lifecycle costs of a passive house building are less than any other “green” method of construction.  Passive houses stay at a comfortable temperature all year round with minimal energy inputs.  High quality insulation keeps the temperature comfortable just where it is needed.  Because of effective insulation heat stays within the building, and all surrounding areas are equally warm. 

Consequently there is no radiation heat-loss through the outside walls of a passive house, nor any resulting draughts. Conversely, the heat in summer stays outside and this prevents overheating inside. Because of these factors the room temperature in a passive house remains constant and comfortable throughout the year, ensuring a high standard of comfort and coziness for the occupier. In addition, passive houses have efficient ventilation systems (MVHR) which prevent a build-up of mould and dust and their resultant allergies.  As well as adequate insulation passive house windows have an important role in creating a passive building in that they can reduce heat loss and they allow sunlight to produce heat through the glass also.