What is Passivhaus ?
Passivhaus is a design standard widely recognised as the 'gold standard' for low energy design.
Devised in the 1980's by German building physicists, it is a thorough and rigorous approach, constantly tested and refined by the design community who use it, to:
minimise energy use + maximise comfort
orientation of the building on the site
insulation to very high standards
airtightness to ultra-high standards
use of sophisticated software to test the design
Most Passivhaus designs - which can, despite the name, apply to any type of building - involve the use of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery [MVHR].
Similarly, most buildings will require triple-glazed windows and doors to achieve the standard, which reduces energy consumption to approximately 10% of that typically required by existing buildings.
Why do Passivhaus ?
Most importantly, the standard aims to reduce CO2 emissions to the level required to address man-made climate change.
However, the standard is also human-centred, based on the need to achieve draught-free buildings with excellent air quality via comfort ventilation.
Currently, the capital costs of this approach are a little higher than standard minimum construction, although dropping year by year. Running costs are however much lower, and 'cost in use' calculations prove the financial benefit, on top of the human and environmental.
There is a massive amount of information online. e.g:
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