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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: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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