This post is part of our series that shares questions we regularly receive about Passivhaus and low energy construction. We will be posting a new one every week. Explore our Blog to learn all about why designing buildings to low energy standards like Passivhaus delivers a lot more than just energy savings.
In our current age, where the environment is at the forefront of global discussions, the Passivhaus (or Passive House) standard is gaining momentum as a sustainable building concept. With energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and a reduced carbon footprint at its core, Passivhaus is redefining what it means to design and live in an eco-friendly space. This article delves into why and how the Passivhaus standard is a champion for the environment.
1. Unparalleled Energy Efficiency:
The primary objective of Passivhaus design is to reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling. The standards demand insulation that is often several times thicker than that found in conventional homes. These houses are virtually airtight, minimising drafts and heat loss. As a result, a Passive House can achieve up to 90% energy savings compared to typical building stock and over 75% compared to average new builds.
2. Reduction in Carbon Footprint:
By consuming less energy for heating, cooling, and overall operation, Passive Houses indirectly lead to a considerable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Since a significant portion of global CO2 emissions come from energy consumption in buildings, adopting the Passivhaus standard on a broader scale could play a crucial role in mitigating climate change.
3. Environmentally Conscious Materials and Building Practices:
As specialists in environmentally conscious buildings, we often prioritise sustainable, recyclable, and locally sourced materials. This not only reduces the environmental impact associated with material production and transportation but also ensures that the house has a low embodied energy. Embodied energy refers to the energy consumed by all the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport, and product delivery.
4. Superior Indoor Air Quality:
A significant feature of Passivhaus is its mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR). This system ensures that fresh air continuously circulates within the house, eliminating the need for intermittent ventilation and reducing the energy loss associated with it. Consequently, indoor air pollutants are significantly reduced, leading to a healthier living environment. And since healthier indoor environments reduce the demand on medical resources, there's an indirect environmental benefit too.
5. Long-Term Resilience and Durability:
The meticulous attention to detail in Passivhaus construction means that these homes are built to last. With their robust insulation and high-quality building materials, they can withstand the test of time and variable climatic conditions. This reduces the frequency of repairs and replacements, leading to lower resource consumption over the lifespan of the building.
6. Reduced Dependency on External Energy:
One of the major advantages of a Passivhaus is its reduced dependency on external energy sources. In many cases, combining a Passive House with renewable energy systems, like solar panels, can result in a net-zero or even energy-positive building. This diminishes the strain on the power grid and promotes the use of clean, renewable energy.
The Passivhaus standard isn't just a trend; it's a testament to what modern, environmentally conscious architecture and building practices can achieve. By focusing on energy efficiency, sustainable construction, and long-term durability, these homes offer a practical solution to many of the environmental challenges we face today. As more people become aware of the benefits of living in a Passive House, we move one step closer to a sustainable future where our homes are harmoniously integrated with the environment they inhabit.