Focused on Health and Comfort
In forming Passive House, Dr. Wolfgang Fiest and Prof Bo Adamson sought a new approach to building that started with health, then addressed comfort, energy efficiency, cost and predictability. In fact Fiest and Adamson wanted Passive Houses to be the most
healthy and most comfortable buildings of any sort, bar none, and thus, these core priorities are the foundation of the Passive House methodology.
Narrow and Absolute Targets
Such broad goals, perhaps counter intuitively, are made more achievable because Passive House certification is determined by very narrow and absolute targets. No holistic “green” checklist is required.
To be Passive House certified the building must simply meet at the most reductive level - three concrete numbers on the verification page of the Passive House Planning Package: 1.) Maximum 4.75 kBTU/(sf/yr) (15kWh/m2/yr) heating requirement. 2.) Enclosure
air tightness of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure. 3.) Maximum of 38 kBTU/(sf/yr) (120kWh/m2/yr) primary energy requirement.
With these three absolute targets in focus, the Passive House methodology required to hit them then guarantees the broader objectives.
The Passive House methodology starts with the fundamentals of construction, building science and healthy living. And it purposefully avoids the bells and whistles of renewable energy as expensive and counterproductive to the clear objectives.
A building’s ventilation and thermal enclosure are the primary drivers of a buildings performance and are the primary focus of the
methodology. With ventilation and the thermal enclosure properly addressed the heating and cooling requirements of the interior are drastically reduced, by up to 90%, making the heating and cooling essentially a passive function of the house itself. The occupants and appllicances provide most of the heat needed. Active heating and cooling is thus relegated to a supplementary role.
The methodology can be broken down into 4 basic components:
1. Ventilation System
2. Thermal Enclosure
3. Supplemental heating and cooling
4. Passive House Planning Package the energy model tool that makes predictable integration possible