If you’re looking to achieve an ultra-low energy building that has the smallest possible ecological footprint and requires very little energy to both heat and cool it, look no further than the Passive House standard.
In a Passive House, cold winter draughts and summer sweats are a thing of the past because the temperature is kept consistently comfortable at all times.
So what exactly is a Passive House and what are the benefits of designing one?
What is a Passive House?
In a nutshell, a Passive House is a home or building that has:
Heavy insulation is perhaps the most important aspect of a Passive House. Enveloping the entire building, the highly-efficient insulation ensures heat transfer between inside and outside is kept at an absolute minimum. In a Passive House, such insulation is even installed under the ground floor.
No air leakages
Air leakages account for a significant proportion of lost heat in the winter and lost cool air in the summer. That’s why a Passive House has to be airtight, with any air exchange facilitated by controlled ventilation.
No thermal bridges
When heat wants to make its way from inside a home to outside, it takes the path of least resistance. A thermal bridge usually acts as that path. That’s because a thermal bridge is a localised area or component that isn’t as good as adjacent areas or components when it comes to preventing heat flow.
A Passive House must incorporate high-efficiency glazing; in other words, glazing that has been manufactured with exceptionally low U-values.
While specific designs vary from climate to climate, the glazing typically used in a Passive House is triple-glazed with argon gas separating each pane and has insulated frames.
Here at Roof Maker, we use our own Reflex® Glass in all our products and offer our customers a choice of glazing options to meet their requirements.
Proper orientation and shading
Orientation refers to the positioning of the home on its site to take advantage of the warmth of the sun for heating and cool breezes for, well, cooling.
However, too much direct sunlight during the summer can cause homes to become uncomfortably hot and that’s where the shading aspect comes in. A Passive House is strategically shaded from the hot summer sun and so doesn’t need any additional cooling systems.
Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
HRV systems continuously replace dirty, stale air with fresh, filtered air. HRV systems are extremely clever in that they allow cool fresh air to enter a home during the summer without being heated, while recovering up to 90% of the heat of the outgoing stale air during the winter and using it to warm the fresh, filtered air that’s entering the property – eliminating the need for conventional boilers and heating/cooling systems.
Passive House benefits
As you can imagine, a Passive House affords a number of benefits to the homeowner.
Here are some of the main ones:
- Highly energy efficient (lower energy bills)
- Consistently comfortable indoor climate
- Better indoor air quality
- Excellent ventilation
- Extremely quiet
How Roof Maker can help you create a Passive House
The Passive House Institute (PHI) is an independent research institute that has been fundamental in helping develop the Passive House standard. The PHI tests building products to see if they are suitable to be used in Passive Houses. If they are, they receive a certification from the institute – the Certified Passive House Component seal.
Every building product that has passed the PHI’s rigorous testing is stored in its component database, which allows designers and builders to quickly and easily see which building products are certified for use in a Passive House.
So, if you want to achieve a true Passive House and are looking to incorporate rooflights as part of your design, the only flat rooflight you should be considering for your project is our fixed flat rooflight.