What is the Passive House Standard?

Passive House is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. Adherence to the standard results in buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling – hence the term ‘passive’.

The original ‘Passivhaus’ standard was developed by Bo Adamson of Lund University Sweden and Wolfgang Feist from the Institute of Housing and the Environment, Germany with the first residences being built in Germany 1990.

Design Standards
The Passive House standards requires that a building meet certain requirements in terms of heating and cooling loads, energy consumption and airtightness. In order meet these requirements and achieve the standard, various techniques and technologies are used in combination.
Passive solar building design techniques involve ensuring a building is compact in shape to reduce the surface area with the principal windows orientated toward the equator to maximise solar gain. However in temperate climates the focus is on reducing excessive solar heat gain through things such as brise soleil, trees and pergolas with vines.

Superinsulation reduces heat transfer through the walls, roof and floor with special attention given to eliminating thermal bridges.
Advanced technology windows with triple-pane insulated glazing, thermally broken frames and air seals give exceptionally high R-values. Engineered windows can provide greater heat gains than losses, even in mid-winter!

Airtightness ensures that the air exchange is done through controlled ventilation through a heat-exchanger in order to minimise heat loss.
Passive Natural Ventilation is an integral component of passive house design and can be achieved by cross ventilation or the stack effect. In some cases, mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems are employed to maintain air quality.

Space Heating makes use of intrinsic heat from internal sources – such as lighting, white goods and body heat.
Passive and active daylighting techniques help to minimise energy consumption while solar panels can provide the necessary energy for lighting and electrical appliances.

Passive House buildings require an investment in higher quality building components, costing on average 5-10% more than traditional buildings. However they achieve significant savings over a life-time with a typical Passive House building achieving energy savings of up to 90%.
J.V. Tierney & Co. are specialist sustainable designers and if you would like further information please give us a call on 01 421 4900 or visit our website www.jvtierney.ie