new bold design limited
6a West Blackdene
Co Durham, DL13 1EQ

Tel: 07815 305454

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Passivhaus building design


Passivhaus buildings provide excellent air quality and a high level of comfort for occupants while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to design principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany, established by University Professor Dr Wolfgang Feist. He summarises the founding principles of a Passivhaus building as follows :-

 “The heat losses of the building are reduced so much that it hardly needs any heating at all. Passive heat sources like the sun, human occupants, household appliances and the heat from the extract air cover a large part of the heating demand. The remaining heat can be provided by the supply air if the maximum heating load is less than 10W per square metre of living space. If such supply-air heating suffices as the only heat source, we call the building a Passive House”

Passivhaus buildings achieve at least a 75% reduction in space heating requirements, compared to standard practice for UK new build. The Passivhaus standard therefore provides a robust method to help the industry achieve the 80% carbon reductions that are set as a legislative target for the UK Government. More importantly, the energy savings are achieved without the use of renewable energy technologies. Passivhaus building techniques are not confined to housing or to any particular methods of construction and are suitable for most site locations

Measured evidence and occupant feedback from many thousands of Passivhaus buildings constructed in mainland Europe over the last 20 years shows that Passivhaus buildings perform to standard, which is crucial given that the energy use discrepancy between the design aspiration and as-built performance for many new buildings in the UK can be as much as 50-100%. They also provide a comfortable and healthy environment for the occupants all year round

The Passivhaus Standard requires :

  • a maximum space heating and cooling demand of less than 15kWh/m2/year or a maximum heating and cooling load of 10W/m2
  • a maximum total primary energy demand of 120 kWh/m2/year
  • an air leakage rate of less than 0.6 air changes/hour @ 50 Pa

To achieve the Passivhaus Standard in the UK typically involves :

  • high levels of insulation (typical U-values of less than 0.15 W/m2K)
  • high performance, triple-glazed windows with insulated frames
  • extremely airtight building fabric
  • thermal bridge free construction
  • a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery
  • orientation of major glazing areas to optimise solar gains

For more information on PassivHaus, take a look at:

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