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What is a passive house?

A 'Passivhaus' meets specific construction concepts that manage to save between 70 and 90% energy consumption.

Achieving a perfect temperature inside the house without paying a lot of money to the electricity or gas company is a headache for many families. That being hot in winter or cool in summer means large bills is, in many cases, the fault of the house itself. But there are buildings that improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption without giving up our basic needs. This is the case of passive houses or passivhaus.

These constructions are buildings designed to make the most of light and solar radiation, with high insulation and air renewal through a ventilation system with a heat recovery unit. It is a type of house created to maintain the ideal atmospheric conditions inside. The Passivhaus Institute, from Germany, is one of those that grants this demanding certificate of energy efficiency that only 32,000 buildings have in the world.

According to the Passivhaus Institute the passive house consumes 90 percent less energy compared to a house already built and 75 percent less than a new construction house, taking as reference the European standards.

The passive house concept was born in the 90s by a group of German and Swedish architects. As explains the Passivhaus Building Platform (PEP), it is actually a way of building, a series of energy standards that can be applied to any construction.

The Passivhaus standard

Like the ecological certification of food products, the Passivhaus defines a series of ecological criteria whose score must add a minimum factor to be able to obtain the certification. These criteria are: super insulation in walls, floors and roof, orientation of the house to take advantage of the sun's radiation and ventilation through a heat recovery unit, cross ventilation during the summer, elimination of thermal bridges, tightness of the building, and finally high precision doors and windows.

Today the Passivhaus certificate includes special criteria for each climate, so in a Mediterranean climate, the highest incidence of sun and the lowest temperature variations between day and night will be taken into account, in summer, however, a control will be necessary. stricter of solar incidence to avoid overheating of the house. In a climate like ours, one of these houses achieves savings of the order of 90% compared to the energy consumption of a conventional house.

In colder climates a passive house works like a kettle. Its interior is so hermetic that practically nothing of the heat that is generated escapes, therefore, with very little energy we can heat the entire house. The interior heat is maintained thanks to a mechanical ventilation system that renews the air from the outside in a super efficient way.

News published by La Vanguardia

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Shekari Editorial

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