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Passivhaus: your questions answered

Having completed the first oak framed Passivhaus in the UK, and with a second just certified, we thought we would focus on this approach to building by answering some typical questions that you may have when considering ‘Passivhaus’ for your self-build.

A growing number of our clients are now seeking to improve the green credentials of their homes, meaning enquiries for Passivhaus or ‘Passive House’ are on the up.

As the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world, PassivHaus is an approach which results in exceptional standards of insulation and airtightness. So, for those of you considering building a super energy-efficient home, our Passivhaus consultant David Bryan, answers your most frequently asked questions.

What are the main features of a Passivhaus?

Exceptional levels of insulation and airtightness are the standout features, with interior comfort being the objective. Walls, floors and roofs have to achieve much better ‘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 Passivhaus?

These high levels of insulation and airtightness mean a house could use up to 90% less energy compared with a house that meets standard Building Regulations. This can significantly cut heating bills and improve comfort by eliminating the cold and ensuring there is a constant supply of fresh air, while maintaining a constant temperature all year round.

Will I still need heating with a Passivhaus?

Realistically in the UK, some sort of heating source is 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 is minimal.

Will a Passivhaus 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. Passivhaus is therefore easier to achieve with simpler house shapes but you shouldn’t let that stop you.

If you want a more complex design, it is still possible to achieve the standard but you’d have to compensate with additional features such as better performing windows and more insulation.

Will a Passivhaus cost more?

The build costs are likely to be slightly more than an average self-build, but long term, you will save through much lower energy bills.

How will my Passivhaus be assessed?

There are specialist organisations which have been approved to assess and issue PassivHaus certificates. They will follow a process involving an initial check during the design stages followed by a final and rigorous assessment based on our initial design and calculations, and evidence presented by way of comprehensive photographs of the build throughout the construction.

How do I start the process of creating a Passivhaus?

Our in-house architectural design team 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 Passivhaus with the added beauty of an oak frame. Our premium encapsulation (wall insulation) system, WrightWall Natural already meets Passivhaus standard in terms of u-values but we can adapt this to meet your individual requirements and ensure your property meets the required criteria.

Click here to learn more about the first oak frame Passivhaus in the UK

To learn more about Passivhaus click here or contact us by calling 01432 353 353

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