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  • Elite Renewables

What is Passivhaus?: A Guide to the Core Principles

Updated: Mar 6


Sustainability is at the forefront of many new-build constructions nowadays, especially when it comes to new and retrofitted homes. Passivhaus is just one example of the solutions to creating greener homes that are not only sustainable on an environmental level but also on a living level.


Passivhaus is a trust that offers a range of proven approaches that can be incorporated within sustainable architecture to deliver net-zero-ready buildings that are optimised for a decarbonised grid and enhanced for the health and well-being of occupants. In order to achieve this standard, there are five key principles that are followed.


Read on below as we discuss these in further detail.


1 | High-Quality Insulation

Passivhaus is a trust that offers a range of proven approaches that can be incorporated within sustainable architecture to deliver net-zero-ready buildings that are optimised for a decarbonised grid and enhanced for the health and well-being of occupants. In order to achieve this standard, there are five key principles that are followed.


Insulation should be used in the walls, floors and ceilings and should ideally be wrapped around the building without interruption, as this is most effective (although, this isn’t always possible - particularly in retrofit – EnerPHit Standard).


2 | High Performing Windows

All window frames must be fitted with triple glazing, as these help to eradicate heat loss. It’s also encouraged for any other features of high-performing windows to be incorporated, such as non-conductive frames, insulated frames or Low-E coatings on the glass of window panes.


Low-E stands for low emissivity. This is where the window glass has been coated in invisible layers of metallic oxide, subsequently allowing natural light in whilst deflecting UV rays and infrared light.


3 | Airtight Construction & High-Performing Windows

Airtight construction means there should be no draughts coming in, nor leaks going out. By ensuring an airtight building, energy costs can be cut down significantly, as heat escape will be significantly limited.


This not only increases the overall energy efficiency of a building but also optimises occupancy comfort.


4 | Thermal Bridge Free Design

A thermal bridge, also known as a thermal bypass, is a weak point within a building’s envelope. As such, it has a higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials, thus creating a path with less resistance for heat to transfer.


Although these can be small spots, they can compromise the entire performance of the insulation within a building, so must be addressed to ensure a design free of any thermal bridges.


5 | Heat Recovery Ventilation

Whilst it’s important to create an airtight building, there must still be some form of ventilation to allow stale air to be flushed out and fresh, filtered air to be brought in.


The best way to do this is through a ventilation system - specifically, a Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system. These eliminate the potential for condensation in colder weather whilst ensuring any incoming air is of a similar or the same temperature as the air that has been pushed out.


Get in Touch

Here at Elite Renewables, sustainable design is at the forefront of our architectural ethos and services. We are proud to follow the five Passivhaus principles, ensuring harmony between functionality, aesthetics and sustainability.


View our portfolio, or get in touch with us today to see how our intricate eye for detail and experience-led planning can help with your bespoke project.

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