Passivhaus (also known as Passive House) is a scientifically proven design tool for new build projects that achieves exceptionally comfortable and healthy living and working conditions within our built environment. The word ‘haus’ directly translates to building, meaning the same principles are able to be applied to non-residential schemes also.
Passivhaus buildings provide the highest level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction quality control and assurance processes, in line with the principles, tools and training developed by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany,
Passivhaus buildings achieve over 75% reduction in space heating requirements, when compared to current standard practices for new builds. It can help create exceptionally comfortable buildings, that are unrivalled in quality, while also delivering up to 90% cuts in occupants’ fuel bills. The Passivhaus standard therefore gives a robust method to help the industry achieve the 80% carbon reductions that are set as a legislative target for the United Kingdom.
The principles of Passivhaus truly represent the apex of sustainable design and development. Utilising readily available techniques, that have been available to us for over a quarter of a century, you are able to create truly energy efficient, comfortable, healthy and superior living + work spaces.
To achieve the Passivhaus standards it would typically involve:
As Passivhaus continues to grow in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, some projects are being pushed even further than the original Passivhaus standard to meet net zero targets. In addition to the established ‘Passivhaus Classic’, there are ‘Passivhaus Plus’ and ‘Passivhaus Premium’ standards which include the use of renewable energy generation in the certification assessment.
PLUS: A building certified to Passivhaus Plus not only drastically reduces energy use, but it also produces as much energy as occupants consumes. The energy generated must come from renewable sources and provide enough energy to operate the building throughout the whole year.
PREMIUM: Far more energy is produced than required to operate the building. Passivhaus Premium is therefore a challenging goal for the particularly ambitious.
Prof. Dr Wolfgang Feist, Director of the Passivhaus Institut
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