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Passive House, Eliminating The Traditional Home Heating System

Our passive house guide will help to inform you about the possibility of eliminating the traditional furnace from the well built home. The concept originated with the Passivhaus Standard in Germany and has spread worldwide. The Passivhaus Standard is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building that results in ultra-low energy builds that require very little heating and cooling.

It is a design process that is mostly used on new buildings but can be used in remodeling as well.

The result is a very well insulated structure that is virtually airtight and is heated mostly by passive solar gain and the things that are within the home.

The only mechanical heating is usually done through a heat source that is connected to a heat recovery ventilator.

Design Standards

  • Airtight building shell 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower-door test
  • Annual heat requirement 15 kWh/m2/year (4.75 kBtu/sf/yr) or peak heat load of 10W/m2
  • Primary Energy use 120 kWh/m2/year (38.1 kBtu/sf/yr)

In addition, the following are recommendations, that are adapted to the local climate:

  • Window u-value 0.8 W/m2/K
  • Ventilation system with heat recovery with 75% efficiency with low electric consumption @ 0.45 Wh/m3
  • Thermal Bridge Free Construction 0.01 W/mK
  • Passive House, How is this achieved?

    Although it varies based on local weather conditions, typical insulation values for these buildings are:

    • R-40 to R-60 in the exterior walls
    • R-60 to R-90 in the ceiling
    • R-30 to R-50 under slab floors

    When a home is built, there are structural members commonly called studs which take the place of insulation. In these places, heat is transferred (thermal bridging happens) which adds to the heating/cooling load. This is minimized by advanced framing techniques.

    Special attention is given to the placement of the home in relation to its surroundings. This is commonly called energy efficient landscaping.

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