Building a Passive House

The key to building a passive house is thinking about the relationship between your home and the environment.

To achieve this you must consider four elements.

The four elements to a Solar Passive Home are as follows:

  1. Solar Orientation – The layout of your site and the position of the house will ultimately determine the amount of energy your home recieves.
  2. House Design – How your home reacts to the environment and how it harnesses the solar energy around it is the true nature of a solar passive house. House design determines the layout of the rooms, the windows and focuses on receiving the maximum solar energy possible.
  3. House Structure – The composition of the walls and roof are vital. The levels of insulating materials or the breathability of the material used determines the passiveness of a house. In order to acheive passive status all cold bridges must be sealed and the house ventilated and heating requirements should not exceed 15watts per sqm.
  4. Technology – Renewable energy then allows a passive house to become self sufficient. A passive house requires low amount of heating therefore less energy is required, therefore the correct combination of technologies should heat your every year for generations..

In order to begin a project such as building a passive house, the following steps should be taken.

  • Planning
  • Insulated Foundations
  • House Composition
  • Passive home
  • Finishing
  • Renewable Energy




Planning

Planning determines the speed and costs of any project. If your project is correctly planned then all targets will be met. It is a vital element to our service. Clients will find that all aspects of planning will be provided and a set of planning meetings will be held to discuss the following four elements

Design is a wide scope to discuss but entails, house layout, site layout & solar orientation, house specification. The time spent on the design stage will pay huge dividends during actual construction.

Scheduling decides the timescale of the project. It is important that our clients feel comfortable that both deadlines and budgets will be met, therefore specific targets will be set on quoting, ordering, construction start date and stage completions.

Budgeting
The price for every project will be broken down to specific stages and each stage is guaranteed to be within stated costs.

The confidence in a project enhances when budgets are set and met during the process. Renewable Energy is the final part of the planning process. As you have built a highly engineered passive house you now need to power it and there is not better way than using free renewable resources.

Insulated Foundations

In order to build the perfect passive house we must first think about the ground on which the house will stand. Most heat loss from any home leaves through the floor and foundations, therefore this is the first place to begin insulating. Insulating the floor with 50mm insulation is normal practice but this is simply not sufficient.

Floors need to be insulated using 2 layers of 100mm EPS insulation. The second layer must cover the gaps in the first layer and all gaps should be sealed using expanding foam. The internal edges should also be sealed.

Insulating the floor well is still not sufficient as the foundations themselves will lose heat from the house
therefore these need to be sealed.

There are three methods of insulating foundations

* Traditional
* Legalett
* SuperGrund

Each method has its own merits and EcoHouse can facilitate each.
Please speak to one of our consultants for further information.
Click on any of the above links to read further information on each system and how it works with your home.

House Composition
The composition of the walls and roof of your home determines the level of passiveness or safety your home has. The 18mm fireshield used throughout the walls prevents fire and gives extra safety features. The fireshield is an extra strong board and provides strength and perfectly straight surfaces. The clay blocks are an intergral part of the wall. These are thermal blocks and allow the home to be warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. The timber is spruce, the strongest timber available. The external finish is comprised of an initial mesh then a first coat.

 

Passive Home

The key to building a passive house is thinking about the relationship between
your home and the environment. To achieve this you must consider four elements.
The four elements to a Solar Passive Home are as follows as mentioned above.

 

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy is the final part of the planning process. As you have built a highly engineered passive house you now need to power it and there is not better way than naturally. The wind and the sun proves enough energy to heat and power your home all year round but to maximise the energy efficiency we need to calculate the requirements and and fulfill them.

The planning element is to find out your home’s needs and to calculate the system that is required to fully run your home.The savings over 25 years (ie the period of a standard mortgage) is emnormous and cannot be ignored.

Your heating and electric bills over 25 years can add up to €70,000 not taking into account rises in prices over this period. Therefore your savings could excees €100,000.

Renewable energy can be harnessed using the following ways:

* Solar Water heaters provide 70% of utility hot water needs.
* Solar PV panels will provide electrical power.
* Wind Turbines will produce excellent power for your home.
* Internal wood Pellet burners provide effective efficient low cost heat.
* Heat Pumps harness the energy within the earth.
* Heat Recovery Systems can ventilate and maintain heated air.

 

Thanks the Techstore Team