What is a passive house & why is it so special?
The Passive House standard was conceived when Professor Bo Adamson of Lund University, Sweden, and Dr. Wolfgang Feist of the Institute for Housing and the Environment, Germany, collaborated in 1988. The very first pilot project was Europe’s first inhabited multi-family home to achieve a recorded heating energy consumption of below 12kWh/(m2a) – just 10% that of the standard house at the time. This consumption level was confirmed via years of detailed monitoring.
Today, the Passive House is the world leading standard in energy-efficient construction. In the ever-expanding global market for sustainable construction materials and technologies, it stands for a new philosophy of “being practical” – taking into account all technical, ecological, and economic aspects of a given project. The decisive factor, the often universally challenging element is not merely the fact that Passive Houses save on energy by as much as 90%, but that they aim to considerably increase comfort levels compared to conventional buildings over the long term. Passive House is a construction concept, not a brand name. It stands for a building standard that is energy efficient, comfortable, and affordable. It provides paramount thermal comfort with very low heating demand.
So what’s passive here?
When we talk about a Passive House, it’s easy to imagine an idealized house that uses only passive heating and cooling—a house that doesn’t need to be actively heated or cooled. A Passive House is efficient, effective, and affordable.
But what does that mean? It means that the Passive House can be built with minimal energy input and will require minimal energy input over time. The heating system uses passive heat gains for heating itself—it doesn’t need any other active systems for heating, so only a minimal amount of additional heating needs to be supplied.
The concept of a Passive House is based on excellent thermal insulation and a highly efficient heat recovery system. The heat stays indoors, so you don’t have to provide it by an active system.
What does this mean for you? When your Passive House is properly insulated and equipped with an airtight construction, all the air in your home circulates naturally through ventilation ducts in rooms—even when you’re not using any mechanical devices like fans or air conditioners (which means they don’t have any moving parts). This means no dust mites can enter your home without being filtered out first!
Versatile’s Heat Recovery Ventilation System is a key component of the Passive House Standard. By recovering heat from the outgoing airstream, the system provides sufficient fresh air to all habitable rooms whilst exhausting stale, used air outside. An airtight structure prevents moist indoor air from leaking through the fabric of the building.
Versatile’s solutions are designed to be affordable, efficient, and effective in any climate. They offer a variety of products ranging from simple DIY kits to fully engineered solutions for commercial applications.
Passive House Requirements
The Passive House standard is a European standard for energy-efficient, highly insulated buildings. The passive house is designed to use 80% less energy than a typical home, and it’s certified through an extensive on-site audit.
To achieve this rating, a passive house must meet the following requirements:
- The Space Heating Energy Demand is not to exceed 15kWh per square metre of living space (treated floor area) per year or 10W per square metre peak demand.
- The Primary Energy Demand, the total energy to be used for all domestic applications (heating, hot water, and domestic electricity), must not exceed 120kWh per square metre of treated floor area.
- Airtight Construction – A maximum of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure (ach50), as verified on-site with a pressure test in both pressurised and depressurized states. For example: if your house has a leaky window that lets out 6 liters of air every hour when it’s closed, then you’ll need to find another way to seal up that window so that only 4 liters of air are leaking out every hour
- Thermal bridge-free design – Thermal comfort must be met for all living areas during winter as well as in summer, with not more than 10% of the hours in a given
How is Passive House Beneficial for us?
Efficient, balanced ventilation is key to good indoor air quality. In Passive Houses, a minimum of 75% of the heat from the exhaust air is transferred into the fresh air again by means of a heat exchanger. Passive House certified heat recovery ventilation systems must provide the following benefits:
Fresh air at all times of the day thanks to ultra-fine filters – invaluable for allergy sufferers.
A constant supply of fresh air ensures low levels of velocity with no draughts, cold spots, or discomfort thanks to modern fan technology and highly efficient motors.
Supply air at a comfortable temperature thanks to innovative heat exchangers which can also cool down incoming fresh air when required. This reduces energy consumption by around 30% compared with traditional systems which require separate cooling units installed outdoors or in attics.
Air in habitable rooms is untainted by odour or contaminants from wet rooms thanks to advanced wetting agents which prevent mould formation on walls and ceilings during humid weather conditions like in summertime when windows are closed due to high temperatures outside.
Versatile’s Comfosystems – your Passive House system of choice
Versatile’s high-quality products are designed to service the low-energy house of tomorrow. Depending on the size and type of system you are looking for, we can offer a ComfoAir heat recovery unit to suit for balanced ventilation and reduced heat loss in an airtight home.
At Versatile, we know that maintaining a comfortable living environment is crucial to your health, happiness, and productivity. We also know that having a high-quality ventilation system is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.
That’s why we’ve been providing energy-efficient indoor climate solutions in Ireland and the UK for more than forty years. Our systems include complete ranges of ComfoAir domestic heat recovery ventilation units that have all been certified by the Passive House Institute, meeting stringent Passive House objectives for performance and efficiency. The result? Low energy, comfortable housing with superb air quality.
Our ComfoAir range comprises five products to service buildings from 50m2 up to 210m2, with a Versatile ComfoAir product for every residential application.