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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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Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

23.07.2015 | nachricht Read more

University of Cincinnati, industry partners develop low-cost, 'tunable' window tintings

Technology developed by the University of Cincinnati and industry partners can do something that neither blinds nor existing smart windows can do. This patent-pending research, supported by the National Science Foundation, will lead to low-cost window tinting which dynamically adapts for brightness, color temperatures and opacity (to provide for privacy while allowing light in).

A partnership between the University of Cincinnati, Hewlett Packard, and EMD/Merck Research Labs has resulted in a patent-pending breakthrough in 'tunable'...

11.06.2015 | nachricht Read more

More densely populated urban areas call for more urban quality

If urban sprawl is to be stopped, the use of developed areas needs to be intensified. The results of the now completed National Research Programme "New Urban Quality" (NRP 65) show new ways of remodelling suburban areas. Developing building and land use in suburban areas will improve quality of life and efficiency in the densely populated Swiss plateau.

To stop urban sprawl and protect landscapes, suburban areas in Switzerland need to develop inwards. This strategy is widely accepted and has political backing....

28.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Innovative local heating solution in Ludwigsburg

Holistic concept for a new housing estate and redevelopment area

Consolidating heating networks in existing urban districts while also connecting areas with a low heat density is particularly ambitious from an economic point...

21.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Heating residential buildings with thermal heat pumps

New gas adsorption heating device for single- and multi-family homes

For a long time, thermal heat pumps were generally considered too large to cover the relatively low heating requirements of single- and multi-family homes...

20.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Tenants influence efficiency of refurbishments

Use of heating and ventilation technology affects energy consumption

With refurbishments the actual consumption frequently exceeds the requirement values calculated in advance. Scientists are examining in detail what causes this...

19.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

New “Cool Roof Time Machine” Will Accelerate Cool Roof Deployment

Standards body approves Berkeley Lab’s method to mimic natural soiling of roofing materials.

Cool roofs can help keep buildings cool, thus lowering the building’s energy use, while also mitigating the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight...

20.04.2015 | nachricht Read more

Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

19.03.2015 | nachricht Read more

Mission: city of the future

German national platform lays out strategic research and innovation agenda: Science Year 2015 is devoted to the city of the future. On February 19, Fraunhofer IAO joined representatives of communities, science, industry and the general public in Berlin to present recommendations for how we can sustainably develop our cities and equip them for the future. As part of a campaign tackling the major questions around the city of the future, Fraunhofer IAO is also informing city authorities, companies and individuals and helping them find the answers.

 

11.03.2015 | nachricht Read more

Flexible and Functional – Prefabricated Façade Elements Simplify Building Renovation

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed façade elements where the building’s heating, ventilation and sanitation systems are integrated into the thermal insulation panels of the building envelope.

The multi-functional insulation boards and window elements can be implemented in new buildings as well as buildings undergoing renovation. The type of...

04.03.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

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