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What is a Passive Building?

A passive Building is a building that does not consume more than 120kw/m2 of the total primary energy per year and is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological at the same time.

  • Passive Houses 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 Houses 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 Houses 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 building must be an air- tight envelope.

Regarding energy saving construction, airtightness isn’t a pastime, it is vital for the prevention of moisture penetration in building components. Air flowing out from leaks transports substantial amounts of moisture into the construction. As the air cools on the way out, the water in the air condenses and remains inside the construction. Airtightness should not be confused with thermal insulation. Both are important for the building envelope, but they must be implemented independently of each other.

It must have a super thermal insulated thermal envelope.

In low-energy buildings in climates with a heating demand the entire building envelope has to be well insulated. The building envelope consists of all the building elements which separate the inside from the outside. Its main purpose is to provide for a comfortable indoor climate – irrespective of the outdoor climate which is determined by the weather. During cold periods (typically from the middle of October to the end of April in the winter cold climates) the temperature inside the building envelope is usually higher than it is outside. As a result, heat is lost through the envelope and, unless this heat is replaced, the inside of the building cools down adjusting to the outdoor temperature. The inverse applies for hot climates (or during hot periods) with excessive heat entering the building through its envelope. Therefore, it makes sense to restrict the heat flow in any building irrespective of the climate – and this is where thermal protection comes in.No cold bridging in the construction method.

No Cold bridging

Cold bridging is caused by a colder element in the structure or fabric of the building allowing coldness to pass through. When warm moist air is present in the property and it passes through the colder elements of the structure we have what is known as Cold Bridging.This is often caused by a combination of issues. It can occur from things such as having a shower or a bath, cooking or clothes washing, particularly if you are drying washing on the radiators.

Well insulated air- tight window frames with low- e triple glazing.

Around 2/3 of the energy lost from a standard window is through radiation through the glazing. The inside pane of a double-glazed unit absorbs heat from the room and transmits it through conduction and convection (see below) to the cooler outside pane, and so to the outside. The thermal transmittance of a glazing unit, known as the U-value, is expressed in units of Watts per square metre per degree of temperature difference (W/m2C). Triple glazing is widely used in cold climate countries like Sweden and Norway, and the ultra-low energy requires triple glazed windows with a U value of no more than 0.8. To get a window with such a low U value, you have to not only switch to triple glazing but also insulate the frame itself.

Ventilation with high efficient heat recovery

Heat recovery is the collection and re-use of heat arising from any process that would otherwise be lost. The process might be inherent to a building, such as space heating, ventilation and so on, or could be something carried out as part of business activity, such as the use of ovens, furnaces and the like. Heat recovery can help to reduce the overall energy consumption of the process itself, or provide useful heat for other purposes.Thermal Mass for heat storage.

Thermal Mass for heat storage 

Thermal mass is a material's resistance to change in temperature.  Objects with high thermal mass absorb and retain heat.  Thermal mass is crucial to good passive solar heating design, especially in locations that have large swings of temperature from day to night. Thermal mass is crucial to good passive solar heating design.  Objects with high thermal mass absorb and retain heat, slowing the rate at which the sun heats a space and the rate at which a space loses heat when the sun is gone.  Without thermal mass, heat that has entered a space will simply re-radiate back out quickly, making the space overly hot with sunlight and overly cold without.

Contact Details

Passive Building Structures,
Dernawilt Rd, Roslea,
Co. Fermanagh BT92 7FH,
Northern Ireland.

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Website: www.passivebuildingstructures.com

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