Passivhaus designs are some of the most impressive green home planning options around today. These ultra-low energy buildings make great use of solar heat and light to drastically cut lighting, heating, and cooling energy use while still maintaining internal comfort and good indoor air quality.
The Passivhaus standard originates from Germany, though it has been adapted by many countries in a variety of formats. Features commonly found in Passivhaus designs include things like superinsulation techniques, advanced technology windows, total airtightness, efficient ventilation, as well as shades and overhangs to control the heat.
The folks over at Hammer and Hand recently did a passivhaus tour in Austria. I’m going to just highlight some of the amazing features and benefits in the homes they saw to give you a taste of what’s involved in going passive.
There are many green features in this home, not least of which is the multitude of windows along the south face of the building. It also makes use of a heat recovery ventilation system, in-floor electric heating, and a stove for peak load heating.
Passivhaus Pauli von Pohl
As this house was still under construction, the Passivhaus tourists were able to see some of what goes into making a Passivhaus so efficient. The insulation for the home is constructed with a mixture of mineral wool insulation, EPS foam, and wood fiber board insulation (EPS and wood fiber shown at top of post). Air sealing (shown here) is also taken very seriously with extensive measures taken to block all heat transfer in and out.
Of course, Passivhaus isn’t just a green home design – it can also be employed for other purposes, such as a kindergarten! A very comfortable learning space has been created for the children who attend this school by employing features like super-insulated, airtight doors, roof overhangs to regulate solar heat gain, and abundant windows for warmth and natural light. Most impressive is the mechanically-operated exterior shading system that helps to minimize overheating.
Note: All images sourced from Hammer & Hand.