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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.

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For a better climate in the cities: Start-up develops maintenance-free, evergreen moss façades

Air pollution is increasing in many cities. It is also getting warmer and warmer and flooding occurs during heavy rain because the surfaces are sealed. Therefore, new concepts are needed to ensure that cities remain livable for their inhabitants, including more green spaces that ensure a pleasant climate and keep the air clean. The greening of façades is also important. A start-up of Technische Universität Kaiserslautern has developed a system for green façades that is maintenance-free and, thanks to moss, self-greening. The founders market this system through their company "Artificial Ecosystems". For their idea, they were awarded 1st place in the Rhineland-Palatinate Ideas Prize 2019.

Around 400 million years ago, mosses formed on Earth. Unlike other plants, they do not have roots. "They filter their nutrients out of the air," says botanist...

25.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

5G transmission masts made of wood for an attractive and sustainable cityscape

The new 5G radio standard is intended to make our communication and data transmission considerably faster and more efficient. For this to be possible, a sufficient number of transmission masts are needed. In a seminar held in the Department of Architecture at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, participants discussed the possible design of these masts. For their models, the students have opted for the environmentally friendly material wood. The best designs are currently being constructed. Over the next few weeks, it is planned to install them as part of a pilot project in Kaiserslautern.

5G transmission masts have to be distributed throughout the entire area in order to ensure reliable data transmission. In order not to adversely affect the...

20.05.2019 | nachricht Read more

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Moves from the Niche to the Mass Market

Industrial manufacture of solar building components and their integration into the building planning process

The majority of photovoltaic (PV) systems in Germany are roof-mounted using a mounting system to fix the modules. On the other hand, solar PV modules that are...

13.03.2019 | nachricht Read more

Seeing Through the Stones of Cathedrals

Bamberg heritage conservationists develop new imaging process

The cathedrals of Cologne, Pisa, Ghent, Vitoria-Gasteiz und Vienna are up to one thousand years old, and they are all victims of the ravages of time. Even the...

07.03.2019 | nachricht Read more

Building digitally, living digitally

DFAB HOUSE has officially opened today on the NEST building of Empa and Eawag in Dübendorf. It is the world's first inhabited "house" that was not only digitally planned, but also – with the help of robots and 3D printers – built largely digitally. The construction technologies were developed by ETH Zurich researchers in collaboration with industrial partners.

A delicate concrete ceiling – cast in 3D-printed formwork – and a curved concrete wall created by a construction robot characterize the architecture of the...

27.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Proposed engineering method could help make buildings and bridges safer

Researchers at Kanazawa University discover how to make pearlite stretch or contract more by changing the distance between irregularities in atomic arrangements along its nanolayer boundaries

Pearlitic steel, or pearlite, is one of the strongest materials in the world and can be made into thin and long wires. The strength of pearlite allows it to...

22.01.2019 | nachricht Read more

Preserving soil quality in the long term

Spatial planning tools, agriculture and forestry that suit local conditions, nationwide soil mapping, and a more committed and coherent soil policy are the cornerstones of the measures put forward by the National Research Programme “Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource” (NRP 68) to safeguard soil quality in Switzerland in the long term.

By virtue of its properties, soil fulfils a wide variety of functions. Its value to society – in agriculture and forestry, drinking water production,...

17.12.2018 | nachricht Read more

New Generation of Cleaning Tools for CSP Plants Reduces the Water Consumption

Tower & Parabolic Trough plants are the most common plants worldwide. ECILIMP Termosolar has developed a new generation of cleaning tools for CSP plants during the Horizon2020 MinWaterCSP project (Minimized Water Consumption in CSP plants). The EU funded project solution has been entirely developed in Spain and tested both in Spain and Morocco.

The optimization of cleaning water consumption in CSP plants is a huge effort considering these plants are increasing their mirror surface (size) while...

09.11.2018 | nachricht Read more

memory-steel - a new material for the strengthening of buildings

A new building material developed at Empa is about to be launched on the market: "memory-steel" can not only be used to reinforce new, but also existing concrete structures. When the material is heated (one-time), prestressing occurs automatically. The Empa spin-off re-fer AG is now presenting the material with shape memory in a series of lectures.

So far, the steel reinforcements in concrete structures are mostly prestressed hydraulically. This re-quires ducts for guiding the tension cables, anchors for...

23.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

Why does concrete swell and crack?

When bridges, dam walls and concrete foundations form cracks, AAR is often the culprit: the alkali-aggregate reaction. It causes the concrete to swell and renders renovations or even reconstructions necessary. A project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and coordinated by Empa is studying the “concrete disease”.

Unfortunately, concrete does not last forever. The ravages of time also take their toll on concrete structures in Switzerland. Not only are reinforced...

05.10.2018 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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