Major Advantages of Passive Houses
When it comes to sustainable building, there’s a strong argument to be made that the future is passive.
Passive Houses are incredibly energy-efficient buildings that can significantly reduce energy costs for residents, as well as overall environmental impact.
Passive Houses are designed to provide a comfortable living environment while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are not a brand but a construction concept, defined by the guidelines set out by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.
Certified Passive Houses use the building envelope and fabrics to create both energy efficiency and indoor comfort. When a house meets all of the criteria of the Passivhaus Institut, it achieves an indoor comfort band of 20-25°C, with no more than 10% of the year exceeding 25°C. It also includes limits on humidity.
A Passive House is characterised by five key design principles. These are orientation, airtightness, excellent insulation and minimisation of thermal bridges, Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) and high-performance windows, such as those manufactured by Thermotek.
Let’s take a look at the major advantages of Passive Houses, plus how Thermotek’s sustainable window and door systems can help architects, builders and owner-builders meet the principles of passive design.
Passive Houses Are Energy Efficient
If built correctly, passive houses use up to 90% less energy than conventional buildings, as they don’t require additional heating and cooling appliances. This not only saves homeowners a great deal of money on utility bills; it significantly reduces the impact on the planet.
Passive Houses harness the use of natural energy sources such as the sun, and outstanding insulation reduces the amount of heat lost or gained.
High-performance windows are a crucial component in passive house design, as they play a significant role in overall energy efficiency. There are several key features of passive house windows that make them effective in reducing energy consumption.
Firstly, passive house windows are designed to have a high level of thermal performance, meaning they have a low U-value. The U-value measures the rate of heat transfer through a material, and a lower U-value indicates better insulation.
Passive house windows typically have a U-value of 0.8 W/m²K or less, which is significantly lower than conventional windows.
The low U-value of passive house windows is achieved by design features such as multiple panes of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and insulating gas fills between the panes. This helps reduce heat loss and prevents cold draughts from entering.
Passive house windows are also designed to optimise solar heat gain and loss. They are typically oriented to face south or southeast in the northern hemisphere or north or northeast in the southern hemisphere. The size and placement of the windows are essential.
The windows and doors in passive houses are also designed to be incredibly airtight, which means they prevent air infiltration and reduce heat loss. Air tightness is achieved through the use of high-quality seals around the window frames and sashes.
Thermotek’s sustainably made window and door systems are highly suitable for Passive Houses. For example, the Thermotek Eco Series 3000 window and door system provides the perfect solution for a house or multi-residential building required to meet energy ratings within a budget.
The streamlined 60mm profile of the Eco Series 3000 is fully insulated with a dual seal frame that caters for a wide range of opening configurations.
Passive Houses Are Extremely Comfortable
Another significant advantage of Passive Houses is that they provide a comfortable living environment for occupants.
Thanks to the high level of insulation, passive houses maintain a consistent temperature year-round, with minimal fluctuations. This means that residents can enjoy a fresh yet temperate environment without relying on heating or cooling.
Passive Houses Are Well-Ventilated.
Passive Houses optimise natural light and ventilation, which means indoor air quality is very good. This can be a concern in many areas, particularly in cities with pollution, as poor air quality can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues. Passive houses minimise the infiltration of outdoor pollutants, filtering air that does come through.
Efficient ventilation systems are an essential component of Passive Houses. They provide fresh air and remove stale air. Excellent insulation also prevents moisture and mould from building up.
The latter can be a serious health issue. Condensation happens when warm, moist air inside the building comes into contact with cold surfaces, such as window glass. Passive House windows minimise heat loss and reduce the risk of condensation forming.
Passive Houses Are Sustainable
Sustainability is now at the forefront of building in Australia. Passive houses significantly reduce long-term impact on the environment compared to a traditional approach. They use far less energy and thus produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The materials used in passive house construction are often sourced sustainably, which further reduces the overall environmental impact.
They Are Resilient to Extreme Weather
Thanks to the high-quality materials used in passive houses, they are extremely resilient and usually require little maintenance. They are designed to withstand extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and heatwaves.
Their high level of insulation means that they maintain a consistent temperature even during extreme weather conditions. Advanced ventilation systems can provide fresh air during extended periods of hot or cold weather.
Passive Houses Are An Attractive Investment
While the initial outlay on materials can be more expensive thanks to their high quality, passive houses will increase in value. This is particularly true given the constant volatility in the energy market.
In the future, it’s likely that people will pay a premium for passive houses that will save them money in the long term and also have a positive impact on the environment.
They Meet Australian NCC 2022 Energy Efficiency Standards
Passive House design requirements mean that these types of designs are more likely to meet building code requirements.
In Australia, the 2022 updates to the National Construction Code (NCC) put increased emphasis on energy efficiency. There were two key changes to residential works, including apartment buildings:
- Thermal performance requirements were raised to 7 stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).
- A new Whole-of-Home Rating must be met by new homes. This applies to heating and cooling, hot water systems, lighting, swimming pool and spa pumps, windows and doors. Renewable and sustainable energy systems, such as solar panels, aren’t mandatory but can be installed to keep a home’s energy under budget.
Passive House design standards help meet these requirements by hugely reducing the amount of energy being consumed by the dwelling.
Harness the Passive Power of Thermotek Window and Door Systems
When it comes to designing and building Passive Houses, it’s essential to work with an experienced supplier like Thermotek. We have a deep understanding of passive design standards. We’re also able to offer a wide selection of design materials that will match any aesthetic.
For example, our Boutique Series 5000 presents visual styling, superior energy efficiency and maximum design flexibility for modern sustainable designs. The selection of Architectural and Woodgrain colours ensures that it fits perfectly into any project.
Uniquely designed and tested for the Australian climate, the Boutique Series 5000 windows and doors cater for all types of Green smart residential projects in both new builds and renovations. The profile system made of durable thermal efficient uPVC is versatile and offers superior insulation.
Like all of our products, it is also a system that directly combats other costly thermally broken aluminium solutions. It achieves the lowest U-values at the most reasonable price.
Sustainability is at the forefront of our entire production process at Thermotek. We are a low-waste manufacturer; the designs originate in Germany but are manufactured locally in Australia. All the materials are 100% recyclable and manufactured in a sustainable way.
At Thermotek, we understand the fundamental principles of Passive Houses and how our products support passive design. We supply architects, builders and owner-builders across Australia with sustainable window and door systems that help meet design requirements.
We can also advise you on how to construct a Passive House while staying within budget.
Get in touch today to find out more about using Thermotek window and door systems in your passive design project. Investing in passive design now means investing in the future of Australia and the planet.