What is a passivhaus?

The Passivhaus (in German) or passive house is a type of construction of a house in which resources of the bioclimatic architecture are used combined with an energy efficiency far superior to the traditional construction.

The first building built with the Passivhaus standard was in 1990 in Germany, and it is currently estimated that thousands of houses have been built with this standard in both Germany and Austria.

The principles on which these types of constructions are based are:

  • Thermal insulation: both in winter and in summer, and both on the exterior walls and on the roof and floor, they must have a low thermal transmittance. Depending on the weather, the thickness of the insulation should be optimized.
  • Windows and doors: they must be of high performance, since any gap through which the air can escape would allow an energy expenditure. Therefore, the windows have to be well and correctly placed, usually with double or triple glass.
  • Without thermal bridges: the transmission of energy not only occurs in walls or ceilings but also corners, joints, etc. To avoid leaks, the insulation layer cannot be interrupted and a material with a higher thermal resistance must be used.
  • Air tightness: in a traditional construction the air currents that occur between the windows or the gaps and cracks, cause internal condensation, particularly during the coldest periods of the year, in the Passivhaus everything is more hermetic and an efficiency is achieved by an elevated mechanical ventilation system.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery: people and appliances generally generate heat and this heat is reused by the ventilation system by preheating the incoming clean air before expelling stale air. To condition the space, it would be enough with a small stove, which would avoid having to install a conventional heating system.

In fact, and although initially the Passivhaus, have been developed as single-family homes, this concept can be extrapolated to any type of construction, such as hotels, office buildings, etc.



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