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Passivhaus: German-Style Superefficient and Superinsulated Home


passivhaus_sectionOf course, there’s nothing like sleeping in a country cottage or under the clear sky – as romantic as it sounds, let’s get realistic – you wouldn’t do that on a winter day.

Passivhaus is a German concept of a home that needs very little heating or cooling, because it is so well insulated that it could basically be built on martian surface. There are more then 20,000 of these Passivhaus homes worldwide, many of them being buildings, kindergartens and office spaces.

While some techniques and technologies were specifically developed for the Passive House standard, others (such as superinsulation) were already in existence, and the concept of passive solar building design dates back to antiquity. There was also experience from other low-energy building standards, notably the German Niedrigenergiehaus (low-energy house) standard, as well as from buildings constructed to the demanding energy codes of Sweden and Denmark.

The Passivhaus standard for central Europe requires that the building fulfills the following requirements:[12][13]

  • The building must not use more than 15 kWh/m² per year (4746 btu/ft² per year) in heating and cooling energy.
  • Total energy consumption (energy for heating, hot water and electricity) must not be more than 42 kWh/m² per year [14]
  • Total primary energy (source energy for electricity and etc.) consumption (primary energy for heating, hot water and electricity) must not be more than 120 kWh/m² per year (3.79 i— 104 btu/ft² per year)

It’s interesting to see how a home can only be heated with a hair dryer and consume so little energy, and it’s suited for world’s colder regions. Still, let’s not forget that these homes depend on electricity for working, and if electric systems cease to work, you are practically locked in a perfectly sealed room. I don’t say the project is bad or smth, but nothing compares to an open window sometimes… I always use open windows at work, and as little air conditioning as possible – it’s not good for health and for the environment. Still, in winter, I’d use the passive house’s advantages. And I’ll build one close to it as soon as I afford to.

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  1. I think it is fantastic how we are using renewable energy and going green in so many ways. I think we also need to do things like reducing our energy usage, like installing geothermal heat pumps to replace high energy heating and cooling systems.


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