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Passivhaus, Passive House

Passive House (Passivhaus) is a construction standard that ensures truly energy-efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological buildings. They are built with meticulous attention to detail according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. The Institute also has an exacting certification program.

Passive House is not a brand name, but a construction method that can be applied by anyone and that has stood the test of practice. Passive House is more than just a low-energy building.

  • Passive House buildings allow for heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared with average new builds. In terms of heating oil, Passive House buildings use less than 1.5 litres per square meter of living space per year – far less than typical low-energy buildings. Similar energy savings have been demonstrated in warm climates where buildings require more energy for cooling than for heating.
  • Passive House buildings are also praised for their high level of comfort. They use energy sources inside the building such as the body heat from the residents or solar heat entering the building – making heating a lot easier.
  • Appropriate windows with good insulation and a building shell consisting of good insulated exterior walls, roof and floor slab keep the heat during winter in the house – and keep it out during summer.
  • A ventilation system consistently supplies fresh air making for superior air quality without causing any unpleasant draughts. This is e.g. a guarantee for low Radon levels and improves the health conditions. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.

The vast energy savings in Passive House buildings are achieved by using especially energy efficient building components and a quality ventilation system: There is absolutely no cutting back on comfort; instead the level of comfort is considerably increased

University Professor Dr Wolfgang Feist Head of Energy Efficient Construction/ Building Physics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and Director of the Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany.

The heat losses of the building are reduced so much that it hardly needs any heating at all. Passive heat sources like the sun, human occupants, household appliances and the heat from the extract air cover a large part of the heating demand. The remaining heat can be provided by the supply air if the maximum heating load is less than 10W per square metre of living space. If such supply-air heating suffices as the only heat source, we call the building a Passive House  — Wolfgang Feist, Director of the Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany

For more information:

Passipedia, The Passive House Resource

The International Passive House Association (iPHA)