The first Passive House structure built in Darmstadt, Germany, in the 1990s
As we have continued to find sustainable solutions for living around the globe, an idea known as Passive House has been growing over the past few decades that could really make a difference in the long run. Passive House is a concept of constructing buildings that are ‘hyper-efficient’ and provide efficiency, affordability, comfort while delivering exceptional air quality without compromising design or aesthetic. The initial goal of the concept was to heat and cool buildings naturally or ‘passively’ and energy efficiency developed as a by-product of the efforts to develop low-energy housing. Let’s look deeper into what makes Passive House design so desirable for modern buildings.
What is Passive House?
A Passive House is a building that is extremely well insulated and energy efficient. Demand for cooling in the summer heat is managed through ventilation and shading along with building and window orientation. In the winter, heat is derived from the sun and from cooking and appliances in the building as well as from the building’s occupant themselves. Passive Houses are able to provide up to 90% in energy savings over traditional buildings and more than 75% over the average new building. High energy savings is even represented in buildings that require ‘active’ cooling. Due to the great degree of variance in climates around the world, Passive House standards also vary depending on location. As we’ll discuss later, comfort is also an integral factor in Passive House as well.
The early origins of Passive House are closely related to the elements of passive cooling and heating in ancient cultures such as the natural cooling and heating provided by the traditional Korean Hanok
The Origins of Passive House
The concept of Passive House was devised and tested in the 1980-90s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist in Germany. The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus-Insitut – http://passivehouse.com/index.html) was soon founded in Darmstadt, Germany, with the goal to establish and promote Passive House standards. The first ‘passive houses’ can be found across the world in ancient structures built in cultures such as Iran, Portugal and Korea. Bo Adamson was the first to classify these structures from ancient cultures as ‘passive’ and sought to apply this sensibility and comfort to modern architecture.
The Modern Passive House
ABC No Rio, New York – Passive House Office
Architect: Paul A. Castrucci Architects
Hollis Montessori School, New Hampshire – Passive House School
Architect: Windy Hill Associates – Copyright: Eric Roth
Passive House Retreat, New England – Passive House Residence
Architect: ZeroEnergy Design – Copyright: Greg Premru
* Mechanical Design & Passive House Consulting for all above projects by ZeroEnergy Design
What’s in it for You?
Less Energy Consumption / Sustainability
A minimal amount of active heating and cooling is required as a result of the extensive building envelop and the elimination of a thermal bridge. In addition, thermal loss can further be reduced and building efficiency improved with an efficient heat recovery system.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Passive House buildings continually provide fresh air throughout the structure and eliminate pollutants and odors.
A comfort of occupants is an essential criteria in Passive House, standards keeps a building free from draughts as well as excessive over-heating or cooling while delivering clean air consistently throughout the building.
The Passive House standard allows full freedom in design for designers and architects, and it’s being implemented more and more in structures such as office buildings, schools factories and hotels.
While higher quality standards for materials and components make the initial investment in Passive House designs higher, savings outweigh investments through hyper-efficiency and the reduction of overall energy consumption.
As a global leader in air solutions, we at LG take special interest in energy efficient technologies that are making our world more effective, sustainable and comfortable. The Passive House standard is changing the way people approach architecture and brings us back in touch with the sensibility of our ancestors while providing comfortable and environmentally friendly solutions for buildings. We hope to see Passive House and LG solutions continue to have a positive impact on energy, comfort and the earth.