A "passive house" or PassivHaus, as it is called in Germany where this concept was developed, is a house that requires little or no energy for heating.
A passive house is a home designed and built according to specific construction standards develped by PassivHaus Institute in Germany.
The Passivhaus Standard can be applied to any climate in the world and works equally as well in cold climates as it does in more moderate climates.
As fuel costs are spiralling up, it becomes increasingly important to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Constructing a building to passive house standards means that for example a household living in a 70m2 passive house that is heated with solar panels and some gas, could spend as little as €35 on heating each year.
Passive House - Key Elements
Key elements of a passive house include:
- excellent home insulation (external, internal, roof, floor, A-rated windows and doors)
- elimination of thermal bridging (loss of heat at junctions eg. where a wall connects to the floor or a window to the wall)
- very high level air-tightness (no drafts or heat loss through any gaps)
- effective ventilation with heat recovery system
- use of solar panels or geo-thermal energy as your heating source
By achieving the passive house standard, qualified buildings are able to dispense with conventional heating systems and rely entirely on heat recovery systems and solar heating.
Passive house cost
According to building costs quoted by several contractors in Germany, the cost of building a passive house shouldn't be more than 6-10% higher than the cost of traditional building.
In a passive house, the cost savings from dispensing with the conventional heating system can be used to fund the upgrade of the building insulation and draftproofing, and the heat recovery ventilation system. Certain savings are also achieved by adjusting the ratio of windows and doors to the overall wall area and by simplifying the design.
To achieve these savings, the house should be designed by an architect who is PassivHaus certified. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve a passive house standard if the house has been designed by an architect who does not have any PassivHaus experience or certification. It is also very difficult to build a passive house using several subcontractors and self-managing the build.
A Passive House from ECO Builders Dublin
ECO Builders Dublin has recently constructed one of the first passive houses in Ireland. We have documented this new build with step by step pictures and videos. The newly built house is located in Portmanock, Dublin.
It was constructed with one objective in mind - to achieve A+ energy rating, while keeping the cost of the built within a pre-defined budget.
We are one of the few Irish building contractors who have first-hand experience in building a passive house (more about it below).
If you are thinking about building a new home, GIVE US A CALL. We will be more than happy to give you a few ideas and a FREE estimate.
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