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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.
Bo Adamson,
co-originator of the passive
house concept.
Wolfgang Feist,
Cooriginator of the passive house concept,
and founder of the Passivhaus Institute in Germany.
What is a Passive House ?
Passive house is a low-energy building which fulfils the following requirements:
The building annual heating/cooling energy demand as calculated with the Passivhaus Planning
Package (PHPP2007) must not be more than 15 kwh/m2 or to be designed with a peak heat load of 10
Total primary energy consumption (primary energy for heating, hot water and electricity) must not be
more than 120 kwh/m2 per year;
The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour (n50 0.6 / hour) at 50
pa(n/m2) as tested by a blower door.
As well as being an energy performance standard Passivhaus also provides excellent indoor air quality, this
is achieved by reducing the air infiltration rates and supplying fresh air which is filtered and post heated by
the MVHR unit.
Passive houses have to be modelled with the passive house planning package (PHPP)
Good insulation
Completely air tightened
Rational use of the sun
Energy friendly household equipment
Renewable energy sources (like sun panels)
Heat recovery
6 important highlights of a passive house
1.Good insulation
A passive house has insulation in the
ground (20 cm), the walls (35 cm)
and in the roof (45 cm).
Some conventional houses arent
good insulated and thats the
reason why most of the heat
escapes through the walls.
thermal separation of
the metal facade from
the concrete wall
2.Air tightened
The house must be completely air
tightened, otherwise the cold air from
outside can go inside and vice-versa
which might increase energy consumption
to bring back to comfortable conditions.
Strips that are placed
to make the whole
house air tightened
On this pictures
they were testing if
the house was
realy air tightened.

3.Maximum use of Sun
For a maximum use of the sun its better that the windows are orientated to the
Use for example strong isolated and three double windows thats give the sun
the opportunity to come into the house.
Organize your house also that the house-hold devices give there warmth to
the house.
4.Air Quality
There is a gangway with
tubes 2 meters under the
ground that holds the
temperature at a constant
level of 12C, in winter
and summer times.
With a mechanical (low
energy) ventilator the
house is refreshed in only a
couple of hours.
The building is losing heat in two ways:
through the envelope,
with ventillation (the exchange of air between the
building and the surrounding area through the
windows and through the gaps).



Heat gains are very important and they are from various
the solar radiation through the windows (so called
passive solar energy),
the energy of the electricity supply, which is
converted into "internal heat sources" in the building.
This adds to the heat radiated from persons inside the


What is PHPP ?
The PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) is a software design tool developed by the PHI
(Passivhaus Institut) for development of Passivhaus and verification of Passive house standard.
It is encoded as an MS Excel spreadsheet
The PHPP was originally developed for central European countries and therefore focused mainly on
heating demand and winter comfort
It was validated by:
I. Detailed thermal simulation (namely Dynbil)
II. Measurements of numerous buildings (namely the 220 CEPHEUS projects)
Within the Passive-On project, PHI extended the PHPP to other climatic regions and included some
essential passive cooling strategies (such as natural ventilation)
What is there in PHPP ?
Heating demand calculation based on EN 13790 (monthly energy balance) with support in
calculation of:
I. U-values, including windows
II. ventilation and infiltration losses
III. passive solar gains, including shading
IV. internal gains
Calculation tools for:
I. household and auxiliary electricity demand
II. primary energy demand
III. peak heating load
IV. summer comfort (overheating fraction)
Over view of inputs to PHPP
Concepts of Passive house
Concepts of Passive house
The health and comfort of the inhabitants are the most important objectives of a Passive House
design. Excellent indoor air quality is indispensable. But this can only be achieved if stale air is
exchanged with fresh outdoor air at regular intervals. This can definitely not be done by just
opening windows twice a day
Ventilation will work accurately only if polluted air is removed constantly out of kitchen, bathrooms,
and all other room with significant air pollution. Fresh air has to be supplied to the living room,
childrens room, sleeping rooms, and workrooms to substitute the removed air. The system will
supply exactly as much fresh air as is needed for comfort and for good indoor air quality; only
outdoor air will be supplied no recirculated air. This will lead to a high level of indoor air quality.
What has been discussed so far could be satisfied by using a simple exhaust fan ventilation system,
where the air is supplied through direct vents in external walls. These vents allow fresh (cold) air to
enter the room at the required rate. However, for a Passive House, the heat losses caused by such
a system are much to high.
An additional opportunity to increase the efficiency of ventilation systems is the use of earth
buried ducts. The ground during winter has a higher temperature than outdoor air, and
during the summer a lower temperature than outdoor air. Therefore it is possible to preheat
fresh air in an earth buried duct in winter, or to cool it in summer. This can be done directly
with air ducts in the ground, or indirectly with brine circulating in earth buried pipes and
heating or cooling the air with a water-to-air heat exchanger.
In Central Europe Passive Houses will only work with highly efficient heat recovery. Heat from the
exhaust air is recovered and applied to the supply air by a heat exchanger. The air flows are not
mixed in the process. State of the art ventilation systems may have heat recovery rates of 75% to
more than 95%. Of course this only works with counter flow heat exchangers and very energy efficient
ventilators (using so called EC-motors with extraordinarily high efficiency). With this technology the
recovered heat is 8- to 15-times higher than the electricity needed.
Passive House Advantages
better indoor climate
even temperatures in the rooms
no drafts in the rooms
no need of fan coils, free interior design, high windows
better sound insulation
until 10 times lower heating/cooling costs
small carbon footprint
independence of growing energy prices
until 30% higher resale value
budget only 10 % higher