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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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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

Iowa State Engineers Developing Pavement Technologies to Clear Snow and Ice From Runways

Alireza Sassani turned a switch and sent 60 volts of electricity into a small block of concrete. A few minutes later the Iowa State University doctoral student took some measurements and found the block’s surface temperature had risen from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 189 degrees.

Next, Therin Young stepped up to the demonstration table and carefully squeezed drops of green-colored water on top of another set of small concrete blocks....

04.03.2015 | nachricht Read more

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
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

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