At a time when things appear to be becoming more and more unstable in life, energy efficiency and ecological sustainability should be at the forefront of the world’s future because it will impact every person’s life.
Housing is a very important area when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability because how we build our houses can have a positive effect on the world’s future. As pollution levels have continued to rise over the decades, so too has the change in the climate and in order to help the climate stabilise, humanity needs to make some changes.
As pollution levels have continued to rise over the decades, so too has the change in the climate and in order to help the climate stabilise, humanity needs to make some changes.
The efficiency of our houses has an immense impact on the climate and with ‘profit over sustainability’ being the flavour of the past few decades across the world, many of the newly built homes across the country are simply not energy efficient and have therefore been doing more damage than good.
There is a solution to this problem, and it is called Passive Housing. Passive Housing is not a new way of building homes, but simply a higher standard of build quality that ensures not only a low-energy building but one that is truly energy-efficient, comfortable and ecological at the same time.
The idea of ‘Passive House’ originates from Germany and it is the strictest energy efficiency building standard across the world.
Some of the ways that Passive house standards are achieved include, using a larger amount of insulation through the house, creating an airtight structure by sealing all joints in the walls and roof and balancing solar energy by installing South and North facing triple glazed windows. By building to this standard, you can create a home that costs almost nothing to heat and maintain.
How else do you achieve Passive House standards?
Air Filtration System
- Pumps fresh air into the house
- Extracts stale air out of the house
The most important feature of this type of air filtration is that it never recirculates the air. Only fresh air is pumped in and stale air pumped out.
Geothermal Ground Loop
A geothermal ground loop is a series of pipes buried deep underground where the ground temperature is consistently at 12 degrees Celsius all year-round. The loop’s main purpose is to serve as the critical link for a geothermal heat pump (installed in the home) to use the earth as a heat source or a heat sink, depending on whether you are heating or cooling your house. Amazing or what!
What’s even more amazing, is that to heat the house in winter, the system only uses a 3000-watt heater which is equivalent to the power usage of only 2 hairdryers!
A greywater system uses the dirty water from the shower and the bath, to flush the toilets. The system not only stores this water for later use, but it also filters it first and adds a touch of bleach before it’s used for the toilets!
Greywater recycling can deal with up to 60% – or around 140,000 litres – of the water entering the house (assuming a family of four).
Triple Glazed Windows
There are many benefits in triple glazed windows over double glazed, and to achieve Passive House standards, they are a necessity. Triple glazing is so well insulated, it is draught free, meaning zero heat loss helping to reduce heating and cooling efficiency by 80% all year round. What’s more, they are filled with Argon gas which keeps them condensation free whilst also helping to reduce noise penetration by 48 decibels.
The positioning and sizes of the windows are also important because placing larger windows on the South elevation of the house enables you to gain optimal heat performance from the low-lying winter sun. Having smaller windows on the North side, are all about simply letting in the daylight.
Passive Houses are so energy efficient, they run on only 10 percent of the energy used by a typical European house – meaning cost savings on energy of up to 90%. Passive Houses are just as affordable and even more comfortable than a traditionally built house but with the added benefits of being truly energy-efficient and ecological.
Surely, this type of housing should be the standard in the future of our homebuilding. In becoming so, we will consume less energy and lower our carbon footprint helping us to achieve a more sustainable future for generations to come.