Passive house construction is an economic strategy to control energy consumption of buildings. This is the current trend towards environmentally friendly construction practices and materials. With the increasing concerns on energy bills and the environment, more builders and homeowners are considering this lifestyle option. Passive houses are buildings with no combustion heat, cool air conditioning and/or heating ducts. They do not rely on windows for air-flow and do not utilize active cooling and heating. This enables greater use of daylight and reduces energy costs.
Passive houses are a collective term for several types of building configurations and structures. It includes buildings made with skylights, double-hung roofs and wall-hung structures. All these structures enable an owner of a property to benefit from the passive house design. Passive houses have reduced energy demands on the building as they allow increased daylight penetration into a building while reducing the heat loss through windows and doors. The energy requirement for a passive house depends on its size, number of rooms, and floor area.
The primary goal of passive houses is to provide a comfortable living space at a reasonable cost. They are designed to provide optimum indoor comfort with high levels of insulation and safety requirements to protect residents from any potential fire risks. They are designed to minimize both energy consumption and water consumption, with the result that the building provides higher energy efficiencies.
The passive house design approach borrows from many different disciplines and perspectives. These include ecological, social, economic, architectural, and engineering theories and strategies. One of the key approaches taken by the architects is the Eco-energy approach. This methodology considers the fact that buildings should have high levels of energy efficiency while being sustainable in their use. The aim is to prevent the need for new construction, and instead, to adapt the design of existing buildings to make them more energy efficient.
Another approach taken is the New Building Standard. The NBS was introduced in Germany in 1990. It is an effective model that encourages the use of efficient heating and cooling systems in new buildings. The NBS differs from the green building standard in that it does not require the development of any renewable energy sources. In addition, unlike the green building standard, the objectives of the passive house are primarily economic, not environmental.
Many developers in darmstadt are taking advantage of this innovative technology. They are using passive house technologies to reduce the energy consumption of their projects. Many are now turning to innovative solutions such as geothermal design, insulation, and hydronic heating.
The German government has been promoting the use of passive techniques in residential buildings. A passive house offers a variety of advantages, such as improved comfort, greater energy efficiency, and natural ventilation. Passive houses are built on foundations that are not exposed to outside air or to soil, making them more comfortable in terms of temperature control. Even better, passive dwellings are generally much more air-tight, resulting in increased levels of insulation throughout the structure. This ensures that cooling and heating costs are significantly reduced.
An additional incentive for builders to incorporate passive techniques into their designs is the tax credit that is available to home owners who purchase and use such buildings for at least part of their lives. New buildings with passive techniques installed can enjoy a rate of up to 20% of this credit, which can amount to millions of Euros over the life of the property. Insulation is also a crucial factor in the comfort level of a dwelling. High quality insulating materials can substantially improve the comfort of a residence. These materials, such as mineral wool, special fabrics for insulation, and foam, among others, can reduce the amount of heat lost through the structure’s walls and windows, resulting in better indoor climate control.