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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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Switch2save: smart windows and glass façades for highly efficient energy management

Smart Glass Solutions – such as electrochromic (EC) and thermochromic (TC) windows and glass façades –control the radiation energy transfer with the "touch of a button" and thus can drastically reduce the energy demands for heating and air conditioning of large buildings. On 1st October 2019, the EU-funded initiative "Switch2save" was launched to improve the availability and affordability of EC and TC smart glass technologies. The consortium of ten partners from research and industry will demonstrate the energy saving potential of smart glass solutions in two fully-operational buildings.

Climate change is a topic now on everyone's lips and climate targets are being discussed at all levels. Solutions such as the use of natural resources for...

15.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Switch2Save: smart windows and glass façades for highly efficient energy management using novel switching technologies

On October 1, 2019, the EU-funded initiative “Switch2Save” was launched to improve the availability and affordability of electrochromic and thermochromic smart glass technologies. The consortium of ten partners from research and industry will demonstrate the energy saving potential of smart glass solutions in two fully-operational buildings.

Climate change is a topic now on everyone's lips and climate targets are being discussed at all levels. Solutions such as the use of natural resources for...

04.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Wood that Shapes Itself

Report in Science Advances: Sophisticated modelling technology opens up new avenues in timber construction and digital design.

Researchers from the University of Stuttgart, ETH Zurich and the Swiss Empa have presented a method with which wood panels themselves bend into a previously...

16.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

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

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

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