The Passivhaus standard, developed in Germany, by Wolfgang Feist, a physicist with a passion for low energy building research and design. Passivhaus is a low energy design standard, that achieves exceptionally comfortable buildings with minimal carbon emissions. After building and monitoring a successful pilot project in 1989, Dr Feist launched the Passivhaus Institute in Germany in 1996, to continue his research into low energy use in buildings and further develop the Passivhaus standard.
According to Passipedia there are around 60,000 Passivhaus buildings around the world. They have been successfully built in European climates, the US and Canada along with warm Asian climates where there is a requirement for cooling.
Some of the key characteristics of a Passivhaus include:
• Excellent levels of thermal comfort
• Very low energy demands
• Provision of consistent fresh air throughout the building
• High levels of insulation
• Airtight design resulting in draught free construction
• Low energy costs
• Minimal/low thermal bridge levels
WHAT IS PASSIVHAUS?
A Passivhaus has rigorous design standards and can be certified to prove the building has been designed to the assured Passivhaus criteria. Local weather data is used to ensure the building is in tune with its location.
The Passivhaus design methods can be adopted for new build designs, both residential and commercial, and on retrofit buildings of all types. There is in depth guidance associated with the different types of Passivhaus build and different certifications according to new build or retrofit status. A Passivhaus can be built using virtually any construction method, from concrete and masonry to timber frame.
The Passivhaus standard uses the precision of building physics to ensure reduced energy costs and demand, comfortable and healthy living conditions, with a high standard of energy efficiency that exceeds government regulations.