What is Passivhaus?
The term Passivhaus (or Passive House) refers to an advanced low energy construction standard for buildings. The Passivhaus Institute was founded by Dr Wolfgang Feist in 1996. The criteria can be applied (not only to housing but all other building types such as schools or offices) to provide a consistent and comfortable indoor climate - cool in summer and warm in winter with minimal heating/cooling requirements. It is essential to design building components carefully, preventing heat leakage out and cold entering in, while using all possible free energy to heat the building in winter.
Reduced energy consumption means that alternatives to fossil fuels become possible. Zero-carbon buildings are achievable. Applying passivhaus principles shows how easily and cost effectively a passivhaus home can exceed the original UK's 2016 zero-carbon compliant target. The building owner can save 90% on energy costs or in excess of this if renewable technologies are implemented.
High levels of insulation, airtightness, thermal bridge-free, heat recovery ventilation, harnessing solar energy gains and internal heat gains, along with low energy appliances and fittings will help keep energy demand to the minimum. Other sustainable measures such as sewerage treatment, rainwater recycling management and efficient water fixtures can also be applied.
Moray has trained as a passivhaus designer to apply these principles on projects. Building performance analysis utilises the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) standard as an energy balance tool to achieve the heating energy demand limits.
The practice applies simple and flexible design, and can provide passivhaus investment and whole life analysis, renewable energy applications, material recycling and sustainable construction techniques.