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What is a passive house and how is the architecture designed?

There are many reasons to build a passive house. The most important are related to the cost advantages you enjoy by building a passive house. The architecture of a passive house is designed so that the basic needs of the home owner, with respect to energy supply, are autonomously controlled. As the term "passive" implies, regulating the energy balance requires no action on your part. This capability stems from the architecture of the house. Roughly 8,000 people in Germany have meanwhile taken advantage of this architecture to build a passive house. But how does a passive house function and what is the respective architecture basically made of? The architecture is typically designed so that the outer shell of the passive house is insulated to keep the heat from escaping outside.

The passive house runs on its own

When building a passive house, a ventilation system acts to additional recover 80 percent of the heat. The roof of a passive house is designed to capture additional heat and store it until the room temperature sinks enough so that it must be released. Related studies have shown that a passive house constantly maintains an indoor temperature of more than 20°C at an outside temperature of -14°C. A passive house provides the freedom to individualize the architecture. The owner can decide whether to build the house out of concrete/brick, wood or a combination. The architecture always depends on the architect and the individual plan. However, there are several factors to consider when building a passive house.

The characteristics of a passive house thanks to its architecture

Passive houses exhibit specific characteristics that are tied to the architecture. The external building components must be extremely well insulated in addition to carefully constructing the corners, edges, joints and other cross sections. This would otherwise lead to excessive heat loss and failure of the architecture to fulfill the desired requirements. By taking these factors into account and using the right approach to building a passive house, one can expect a minimal heat loss of only .15 watts per square meter of external surface area. If you are building a house, the architecture should be designed to maximize the energy gain through the solar cells. For this reason, the solar cells on the roof of the passive house must have a southerly orientation.

To build a passive house, it should be designed such that the respective solar collectors and heat pumps supply power to the hot water system. When building a passive house and using the appropriate architecture, you can expect to significantly lower your operating costs.

Lower the operating costs

The architecture is what makes it possible for you to build a passive house and to have a complete energy system that runs on its own. While more and more people are dreaming of building a house, it always involves high costs. With the right architecture, you can build a passive house assuming that you will benefit from significantly lower monthly operating costs. This approach allows you to build to a house that runs completely on its own thanks to the corresponding high-quality architecture . Because the architecture is so well thought-out, you can build this house under the assumption that the heating balance will regulate itself. For this reason, you can assume that building a house is a worthwhile effort.

Architecture and Construction

Here you can discover new and innovative developments from the world of building design and construction.

innovations-report offers reports and articles on a variety of topics such as building optimization, modern construction materials, energy-efficient construction, natural insulation materials and passive buildings.

Latest News:

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On-Site Visualization of Planned Buildings

Using a system developed by Fraunhofer FIT, architects, developers or their clients can view a 3D model of a building in its intended shape, precisely where the building is to be constructed. This will give them a much clearer, realistic impression of the design. We will demonstrate the system at BAU 2015 held in Munich from January 19 to 24, 2015.

Digitization is fundamentally changing the work processes in architectural design, planning and construction work. Increasingly, CAD drawings are transferred...

13.01.2015 | nachricht Read more

Green walls, effective acoustic insulation

Zaloa Azkorra, an agricultural engineer of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, is conducting research at the University School of Mining and Public Works Engineering into the benefits provided by green walls. 

The researcher has concluded that walls comprising plants offer great potential for absorbing noise and could be used as acoustic insulation. Right now, she is...

05.01.2015 | nachricht Read more

Machine-drawn restoration glasses from SCHOTT authentically manufactured

TIKANA®, RESTOVER®, and GOETHEGLAS are manufactured using the historically authentic Fourcault process

The international technology group SCHOTT uses the authentic Fourcault process to manufacture its various architectural glasses for the restoration of historic...

04.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

CryoSol®Plus - Air conditioning of buildings with phase change slurries

When it is very warm outside, the air conditioning system takes care of a consistently cool room climate inside the house. The water paraffin mixture CryoSol®Plus could make the purchasing of an air conditioning system for office buildings superfluous in the future and at the same time considerably unburden the power grids. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is researching areas of use for phase change slurries (PCS).

Cryosol®Plus looks like milk. But don't even think about drinking it. While the composition made of paraffins and water is non-poisonous, it still isn't all...

03.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Renovating a piece at a time

Coming home from work one day, you’re taken aback to find your apartment building encased in scaffolding. And then it hits you that the agency that manages the property did announce that your building is going to be renovated with the promise that a new façade and new windows will mean paying less for utilities.

You can now look forward to months of noise pollution and to artificial darkness caused by the scaffolding wrap and there are bound to be interruptions and...

10.11.2014 | nachricht Read more

Future City Lab_Stuttgart

University of Stuttgart starts “Reality Lab for Sustainable Mobility Culture“

As of January 2015 new forms of knowledge transfer will be implemented at the University of Stuttgart with the research project “Future City_Lab Stuttgart:...

23.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

NUS Research Team Pioneers Novel Ultra Light-Weight Cloud Arch Architectural Technology for Sustainable Construction

A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed Cloud Arch, an innovative, ultra-light architecture that will revolutionise the way large open public spaces, such as market, airport, stadium, concert hall, factory, are built.

This patent-pending technology is jointly developed by a research team led by Japanese architect Assistant Professor Shinya Okuda, who is from the NUS School...

10.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Making window glass visible – but only to birds

Ultraviolet patterns can make window glass visible to birds, thus preventing fatal collisions. However, it has now been shown that such windows are not likely...

09.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

SCHOTT introduces new sales structure for architectural glass

Select group of well-known partner firms in Europe and the Middle East to serve customers in a fast and professional manner

The international technology group SCHOTT has reorganized its sales of architectural glass products. Effective immediately, an elite group of partner companies...

02.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

My energy consumption, my electricity bill, my urban lab

People want clean air, renovated old buildings, attractive modern architecture and low energy consumption.

In other words, they want a sustainable living environment that supports a wide range of lifestyles and living concepts, where they can be involved in all...

01.10.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoscale Mirrored Cavities Amplify, Connect Quantum Memories

Advance could lead to quantum computing and the secure transfer of information over long-distance fiber optic networks

The idea of computing systems based on controlling atomic spins just got a boost from new research performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)...

Im Focus: Shedding light on cold Higgs

For the first time physicists at the University of Stuttgart provide experimental proof of a stable and well-defined Higgs mode in superconductors – a direct analog to the Higgs particle, discovered only recently at the world´s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN – however, using not more than a table-top experiment.

When François Englert and Peter Higgs were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize, a scientific breakthrough was honored that could hardly be more spectacular: born from...

Im Focus: Pictured together for the first time: A chemokine and its receptor

Researchers capture 3-D structure of a molecular interaction that influences cancer, inflammation and HIV infection

Researchers at University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Bridge Institute at the University of Southern...

Im Focus: Intelligent Algorithm Finds Available Carsharing Vehicles

A new program will make it easier to combine different modes of transport. Siemens is developing a service for predicting the availability of carsharing vehicles at a given location at specific times.

The forecasting tool will be incorporated into the integrated SiMobility Connect mobility platform, which links carsharing firms, public transport companies,...

Im Focus: New conductive coatings for flexible touchscreens – presentation at nano tech 2015 in Japan

Mobile phones and smart phones still haven‘t been adapted to the carrying habits of their users. That much is clear to anyone who has tried sitting down with a mobile phone in their back pocket: the displays of the innumerable phones and pods are rigid and do not yield to the anatomical forms adopted by the people carrying them. By now it is no longer any secret that the big players in the industry are working on flexible displays. Properties that suitable coatings offer in this respect will be demonstrated by the developments of the INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials on show nano tech 2015, Tokio, Japan.

For the nanoparticle inks, the researchers are using what are known as TCOs, or transparent conducting oxides. “We use the TCOs to produce nanoparticles with...

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