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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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Double helix of masonry -- Researchers discover the secret of Italian renaissance domes

In a collaborative study in this month's issue of Engineering Structures, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Bergamo revealed the engineering techniques behind self-supporting masonry domes inherent to the Italian renaissance. Researchers analyzed how cupolas like the famous duomo, part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, were built as self-supporting, without the use of shoring or forms typically required.

Sigrid Adriaenssens, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton, collaborated on the analysis with graduate student Vittorio Paris and...

18.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Stuttgart light rail bridge hangs on Swiss carbon ropes

Another milestone for an extremely versatile material with Swiss roots: On May 3, a 127-meter-long railway bridge will be pushed over the A8 motorway near Stuttgart, its 72 suspension cables consisting entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). This ultra-light yet extremely stable material was developed largely at Empa and has since been used in more and more structures.

On the night of Sunday, May 3, a spectacular bridge-building event will take place in Stuttgart: Stuttgarter Strassenbahnen AG (SSB) is extending the U6 light...

01.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

ArKol Project: Tapping into the Thermal Potential of Façades

About 40 percent of the primary energy consumption in Germany is used for space heating and warm water. Facades which function as a “thermal wall” can help bring on the transformation of our heating system, yet they have been given little attention up to now. In the ArKol project, a research consortium led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed two novel solar thermal façade collectors: a solar thermal strip collector and a solar thermal jalousie. As an integral part of the façade, both elements offer an architecturally pleasing experience.

The project “ArKol – Development of architecturally aesthetic, integrated façade collectors with Heat Pipes,” just ended in February 2020. The project focused...

25.03.2020 | nachricht Read more

Research made easy: DFKI spin-off “baukobox” helps architects with detailed planning

Knowing and understanding constructive details is essential for students and architects, but at the same time it is associated with costly and time-consuming research. The knowledge platform “baukobox” (an artificial word made up of the terms building construction and construction box) shortens this process. It is both a source of inspiration and a digital tool for construction details and component information.

The web-based application was realized as a user-friendly platform by former employees of the TU Kaiserslautern (TUK) and the German Research Center for...

03.03.2020 | nachricht Read more

Two NE tree species can be used in new sustainable building material

UMass Amherst study tested strength of mass timber panels created from eastern white pine and eastern hemlock

Two tree species native to the Northeast have been found to be structurally sound for use in cross-laminated timber (CLT) - a revolutionary new type of...

28.02.2020 | nachricht Read more

Mobile smart homes and expanded living labs: DFKI and TU Berlin make the future of living more accessible

With commercial smart home gadgets, a connected living is already possible today – but aims less at people that would especially profit from intelligent assistance. In order to create a close exchange with the society in their research of smart everyday objects, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the Technical University of Berlin develop a new living lab infrastructure as a realistic test environment that present the advantages of the future living to the public. The team presents the project KosmoS, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with roughly 1.1 million Euros, at a networking meeting today.

Turning one’s own four walls into a smart home is not a matter of the future anymore: speech-controlled assistants, intelligent gadgets and digital locks...

19.02.2020 | nachricht Read more

Pollination is better in cities than in the countryside

Flowering plants are better pollinated in urban than in rural areas. This has now been demonstrated experimentally by researchers in central Germany. Although the scientists found a greater diversity of flying insects in the countryside, more bees in cities resulted in more pollinated flowers of test plants. By far the most industrious pollinators were bumble bees, most likely benefitting from the abundant habitats available in the city. To promote pollination, the researchers recommend to take into greater account the needs of bees when landscape planning – both in cities and in the countryside. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Cities all over the world are expanding. A number of studies have already shown that the conversion of natural areas into built land affects insects and, while...

29.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

City research draws on Formula 1 technology for the construction of skyscrapers

Civil engineering academic is developing new vibration-control devices based on Formula 1 technology for skyscrapers

City, University London draws on Formula 1 technology for the construction of "needle-like" skyscrapers.

10.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Living bridges: How traditional Indian building techniques can make modern cities more climate-friendly

Dense, humid broadleaf forests, monsoon-swollen rivers and deep ravines – in the Indian state of Meghalaya wooden bridges easily decay or are washed away in floodwaters. Bridges made from steel and concrete are pushed to their limits here as well. But bridges made of living tree roots can survive here for centuries. Prof. Ferdinand Ludwig of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has investigated these special structures and proposes integrating this extraordinary building technique in modern architecture.

Inaccessible valleys and ravines lead from the North East Indian Meghalaya plateau to the wide plains of Bangladesh. In the monsoon months the mountain streams...

18.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

Corrosion - Slow Decay

"Corrosion" comes from Latin "corrodere": to gnaw something to pieces. This refers to the gradual destruction of a sub- stance due to the influence of other substances in the environment. Specialists at Empa take a close look at such processes and can find timely ways to prevent material failure due to corrosion – long before disasters such as those in Genoa occur.

The owner of a new Swiss industrial facility for the production of high-tech machinery was faced with a mystery: Kilometres of brand new stainless steel and...

22.10.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

Im Focus: NASA's Curiosity rover finds clues to chilly ancient Mars buried in rocks

By studying the chemical elements on Mars today -- including carbon and oxygen -- scientists can work backwards to piece together the history of a planet that once had the conditions necessary to support life.

Weaving this story, element by element, from roughly 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) away is a painstaking process. But scientists aren't the type...

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