April 4, 2023

What is Passivhaus?

With inflation on the rise and the cost-of-living crisis worsening many of us now think twice before switching on the heating. It has left many of us wondering whether it’s possible to reduce the energy consumption within our homes, without affecting our home comforts.

The answer is Passivhaus!

So what is it?

First of all, it is German for ‘Passive House’, and it is a highly energy efficient building, which requires minimal heat energy to maintain a comfortable temperature all year round. In fact, a Passive House needs up to 90% less energy than the average house. The 10% that is needed is produced predominantly by passive heat sources which include human body heat, the sun’s rays and even the heat coming off household appliances.

What makes it all possible is the high-quality design principles and craftsmanship, combined with other key elements that set Passivhaus construction apart.

High levels of thermal performance insulation:

A well-insulated building keeps warmth in during cold months and the heat out during the warmer months.

 High quality windows and doors:

High specification, energy efficient windows are vital in achieving passive standards. Strategically positioned, highly insulated windows do their part to make optimal use of the sun’s energy.

Thermal bridge free design and construction:

Clever design that avoids thermal bridges, which are weak points in the building envelope, contributes to the temperature of the house by reducing heat loss and eliminating moisture.

 An airtightness:

Passivhaus properties are designed to avoid leakages in the fabric of the building, preventing draughts and boosting energy efficiency.

 Ventilation with highly efficient heat or energy recovery:  

The Passivhaus ventilation system provides ventilation, heat recovery, domestic hot water and filters the air to ensure it is free from bacteria, pollen and germs.

Who invented Passivhaus?

In 1988, Wolfgang Feist and Bo Adamson set out to find out how buildings could be designed in a more sustainable, energy efficient way. Following years of research, the first Passivhaus home was successfully completed in Darmstadt, Germany in 1991 and this is when the five key principles were proven.

A recognised international building standard, over the last 30 years, Passivhaus has gained popularity and proven its effectiveness in decreasing energy consumption. The Passivhaus standard can be implemented all over the world. While the components of individual properties may vary depending on the climate; the general approach will always be the same.

At Fraser Millar, we have adopted this method of construction and are Passivhaus certified. We have implemented the Passivhaus principles into the construction of the homes in our Lancaster Park development in South Belfast. Currently it is the largest Passivhaus, developer led, residential scheme in the UK and Ireland.

Our mission is to build certified Passivhaus homes in which homeowners have control over their energy consumption, without the worry of ever-increasing energy bills. Also, with less need for fossil fuels, Passivhaus practices are a step in the right direction for Northern Ireland with Fraser Millar leading the way to move the property sector forward and ensuring residents have access to a cleaner, greener and leaner way of living.