Developed in Germany in the 1990s, Passivhaus is a quality assured standard and set of strict design criteria for buildings which use between 75 and 90% less energy than a standard new construction in the UK.
And as recent modelling demonstrates that a Passivhaus building generates significantly lower emissions than any other kind of proposed Zero Carbon structure, it has been claimed that Passivhaus is the only realistic way to achieve Zero Carbon without a complete overhaul of renewable energy sources and grid capacity.
Passivhaus design seeks to eliminate the need for space heating and cooling and is based on the principle that reducing heating loss to a minimum is the most cost-effective and most robust way of achieving a low carbon building.
Key principles include maximising the use of super insulation and strict standards of airtightness and paying meticulous attention to the removal of thermal bridges. Combined with passive solar gain and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems, the Passivhaus design can create healthy and comfortable buildings that require minimal heating.
Thanks to the quality assurance element of the standard, design stage modelling ensures the energy performance of a completed Passivhaus building is exactly as predicted with heat loss reduced by improving the building fabric and ventilation heat recovery.
Hot water demand can be reduced by careful design and net emissions are reduced through the use of heat pumps – substantially more environmentally friendly than a traditional gas boiler.
Suitable for residential and non-residential buildings alike, the Passsivhaus concept can be applied to refurbishments as well as new build design projects.
In new builds, often more compact in size than other contemporary designs to reduce their surface area, emphasis is placed on where – usually larger than standard – windows are located to maximise solar gain and sustainable low energy lighting systems, complementing extensive natural daylight, are another key feature.
Superinsulation is key to the energy efficiency meaning as little energy as possible is wasted through walls, floor and roof spaces, with windows triple or quadruple glazed and care taken to eliminate moisture and dew points in the design through the sealing of every construction joint in the building envelope.
Passivhaus buildings make extensive use of the heat from internal sources—such as waste heat from lighting, appliances such as fridges and freezers and other electrical devices rather than actual heaters – and the body heat generated from people and animals inside the building.
Traditional central heating systems are not required, although can be included.
Syntegra is delighted to be able to provide a Passivhaus standard service to clients as we continue to strive to provide the most sustainable solutions.
For an initial discussion about applying this standard to your building project, get in touch today and we’d be delighted to advise on appropriate next steps.
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