A house that performs: Passively

Posted 10/20/21

Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. The principles optimize the …

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A house that performs: Passively

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Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. The principles optimize the gains and losses based on the locale’s climate. To that end, a passive house or building is designed and built in accordance with these four building-science principles:

  1. Employs continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope without any thermal bridging. What this means is that the building is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  2. Employs high-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors. Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season.
  3. Uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation.
  4. Uses a minimal space conditioning system.

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies—from single-family homes to multifamily apartment buildings, offices, and skyscrapers.

How it’s done: Easy as 1-2-3

  1. Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency.
  2. Superinsulation and airtight construction provide unmatched comfort even in extreme weather conditions. Simply put, there are no drafts or heat loss through walls, windows, or through the roof.
  3. Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air provides superb indoor air quality. Because the house is so tight, mechanical means are necessary to bring in fresh air.

Simply put: Passive house and passive building science is a comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design, and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.

Resource: https://www.phius.org/what-is-passive-building/passive-house-principles

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