“When the old way of seeing was displaced, a hollowness came into architecture. Our buildings show a constant effort to fill that void, to recapture that sense of life which was once to be found in any house or shed. Yet the sense of place is not to be recovered through any attitude, device, or style, but through the principles of pattern, spirit, and context.” – Jonathan Hale, The Old Way of Seeing: How Architecture Lost Its Magic – And How to Get It Back,1994.”
The Passivhaus building standards was initially designed for mid and northern European climates where the basic principle is energy efficiency in buildings, a holistic low energy design concept where as much as possible try to reduce energy consumption.
“A Passivhaus is a building, for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
The idea is to make the building as airtight as possible to control the temperature , this means for much colder regions the traditional heating system is not needed in the building and for much hotter regions using A/Cs will be a waste and won’t be necessary.
A major concern will be the cost in constructing such airtight buildings. While for now constructing a Passivhaus standard building is 14% more expensive than a standard building in the long run it is cheaper and easier (more financially efficient) to maintain than a standard building.
Some interesting facts about Passivhaus buildings.
– A passivhaus requires only 10% of the heating and cooling energy used in regular buildings which is a reduction of up to 90%.
– The total primary energy consumption must not be more than 120 kWh/m² per year.
– Averagely passivhaus buildings are up to 14% more expensive than a typical building.
– The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour.
According to the passivhaus website the same standards can be used in tropical climates but the focus now shifts to cooling and dehumidification instead of heating. it should be noted that even if the tropical regions every country is different and hence more particular codes need to be adhered to which is why for most tropical regions there are only passive housing recommendations to follow.
Check out the references and learn more.
You can also check out the Passipedia for ways to connect to a wider Passivhaus community and join online forums.
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