The Energy Performance Standard
Passivhaus or 'Passive House' is the world’s fastest growing energy performance standard. The aim of the standard is to build homes with excellent thermal performance, exceptional air tightness and mechanical ventilation. This minimises the heat used and permits it to be recovered and re-circulated, reducing the ecological footprint. The number of Passivhaus buildings around the world is currently estimated at 30,000.
As we become more aware of fuel poverty it becomes increasingly important to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. With fuel prices continuing to rise the low heating demand of Passivhaus buildings of less than 15kWh per square metre per year means that annual fuel costs are reduced by a factor of 5-10. For example a household living in a 70m2 Passivhaus with gas heating could spend as little as £25 on space heating each year.
The Passivhaus standard can be applied to residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings.
The official definition of a Passivhaus is:
“a building, for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
...meaning the heating requirement in a Passivhaus structure is reduced to the point where a traditional heating system is no longer considered essential. Cooling is also minimised by the same principles and through the use of shading and in some cases via the pre-cooling of the supply air. Night purging and the use of natural cross-ventilation through open windows is encouraged during the summer months.
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