The New Year is coming and we bet you have all your resolutions listed. You jot down all the things that you want to do and improve on yourself this 2018. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to an ultimate house goal—building a passive house.
The passive house design uses a combination of sustainable building techniques to keep your home’s internal comfortable without relying on artificial heating or cooling. Yes, it keeps you warm during winter without your heaters on 24/7. It keeps you cool during summer without your air conditioners running all day.
The results? A dramatic drop in your power bills. Your home costs very little to run. Most importantly, it emits a low carbon footprint which undeniably good for the environment.
This innovation is promising, the entire AEC industry calls it the future of sustainable housing. In fact, a lot of Australian architects, designers, and builders create structures that follow the principles of passive house design.
Let’s dive in to see how it works:
Elements of a Passive House Design
A passive house looks like a normal house. However, an architect who designs a truly sustainable home must focus on these tasks:
Provide a well-insulated and highly-efficient building envelope
This is the first thing that a sustainable design architect must do to your home. The building envelope and the insulation are two different things, but the two must work together to keep the homeowner comfortable indoors.
The building envelope is the skin of the building, the physical separator between the exterior and interior of the structure. It’s the walls, floors, and the roof. The insulation is the blanket you wrap around your building envelope to seal all possible leaks. Installing the right kind of insulation in an adequate amount will minimise heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
Next, you have to make sure that both the building envelope and the insulation is airtight. If it is, your temperature regulators won’t have to work double to heat or cool your place.
So, make sure that there are no gaps in the building envelope and all linkages are sealed.
Another important design component in a passive home is the ventilation.
In an airtight structure, you have to flush the stale air out and replace it with fresh, filtered, and temperature controlled air. We call it the heat recovery ventilation. This improves indoor air quality and prevents dangerous indoor condensation. You should know that untreated condensation will result in structural damage and mould growth.
Ensure that your doors and windows do not leak
Your doors and windows also contribute to unwanted heat gain and loss. Warm and cool air will escape through gaps between the wall and the door and window frames if these are not insulated properly.
Having double glazed or low-emissivity glass windows will also minimise heat gain. However, these two eco-friendly windows have a very different way of doing that.
The low-emissivity glass windows or Low-E windows have a coating which reduces the amount of heat that passes through the glass. It will still reduce the heat flow during winter, the time you need it most.
On the other hand, double glazed windows keep heat inside the building in winter and reduce heat flow into your home in summer.
Remove thermal bridges of the structure
The term thermal bridging refers to the areas of the house which absorbs most heat and cold faster than other areas. This affects the performance of your insulation, leading to discomfort at home.
Your chosen architect must eliminate the thermal bridge during a renovation project. He or she must not build a structure with this as well. Remember, a real passive house has no thermal bridges.
A passive home is more efficient and cost-effective when built straight off the plans. However, there are renovation projects that guarantee to give you the same results.
Want to know how to make your home more sustainable and energy-efficient? Send us your concerns and we’ll get right back to you ASAP!