Passive House – your questions answered
With Oakwrights having now completed the first Oak framed Passive House in the UK, we thought we would focus on this relatively new approach to building and answer some typical questions that many people will have when considering ‘Passiv Haus’ on their self-build journey.
A growing number of self-builders seek to improve the green credentials of their homes, and enquiries for Passiv Haus or 'Passive House' are on the up.
As the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world, Passive House is an approach which results in exceptional standards of insulation and air tightness.
So, for those of you considering building a super energy-efficient home, our Passive House consultant David Bryan, answers your most frequently asked questions.
What are the main features of a Passive House?
Exceptional levels of insulation and air tightness are the main features. Walls, floors and roofs have to achieve very low ‘u values’ compared with a house that meets standard Building Regulations.
Doors and windows must also be designed with a particular ‘u value’ to prevent gaps and draughts.
What are the key benefits of Passive House?
These high levels of insulation and air tightness mean a house could use up to 90% less energy compared with a house that meets standard Building Regulations, which can significantly cut heating bills.
Eliminating cold, ensuring there is a constant supply of fresh air and maintaining a constant temperature all year round improves comfort for the homeowner.
Will I still need heating with a Passiv Haus?
Realistically in the UK, some sort of heating source will be advisable. However, very little heat that is generated will escape through the walls, floors and roofs as they’re so well insulated. This means heating input required will be minimal.
Will a Passive House approach to house building limit my design?
Achieving the standard means working to low ratios of internal volume and wall area. In simple terms, the more corners you have in a property, the higher the ratio. Passive House is therefore easier to achieve with more simple house shapes but homeowners shouldn’t let that stop them.
If you want a more complex design, it would still be possible to achieve the standard but you’d have to compensate with additional features such as better performing windows and more insulation.
Will a Passive House cost more?
The build costs are likely to be slightly more than an average self-build, but long term, homeowners will save money through much lower energy bills.
How will my Passiv Haus be assessed?
There are specialist organisations which have been approved to assess and issue the Passive House certificate. They will follow a process involving an initial check during the design stages followed by a final and rigorous assessment.
How do I start the process of creating a Passive House?
Our in-house architectural design team at Oakwrights can advise you and evolve your ideas for a Passivhaus design.
Our team can also work with your architect and third party construction experts to develop your Passive House with the added beauty of an oak frame. Our standard Encapsulation (wall insulation) system already meets the basic Passive House standard in terms of u values but we can adapt this to meet your individual requirements and ensure your property meets the required criteria.
Check back to our website regularly for updates, and following completion of the self-build, a case study on our prestigious Passive House build in Yorkshire will be added to inspire you even more.
If you attend the ‘Build It Live’ show in Bicester on 10th and 11th June you can talk to the team about your Passive House requirements, Helen Needham our Architectural Design Team Manager will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you there. See the show diary page for information about this show and other approaching events.
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