Introduction to passive housing
At Serra Norte, we are committed to sustainable and highly energy efficient buildings. We are Passivhaus designers, one of the highest energy efficiency certification standards, and we apply this philosophy to all our projects.
The main goals of passive housing, or Passivhaus, are to reduce energy demand so that consumption can be covered largely or entirely by renewable energy and to achieve maximum comfort in the interior space by controlling indoor air quality and temperature to ensure the occupants wellbeing.
The building location and orientation should seek to take advantage of solar radiation in the winter and to reduce its impact in the summer.
The building shape and size are also important aspects of the design. It should be as compact as possible to reduce the surface area of the building envelope and minimize heat loss.
Thermal insulation and absence of thermal bridges
Insulation materials, which have a low thermal conductivity, have a key role in the building envelope. They must be placed together seamlessly to minimize heat loss.
To ensure the airtightness of the building envelope, it is necessary to seal all the joints between the elements to prevent air leakage leading to unnecessary energy losses in the form of heat or cold.
The goal of Passivhaus is to achieve a very low air leakage value. This is measured by the Blower Door Test, which is a method of measurement that quantifies the amount of air leakage per hour through its enclosure at a certain difference in pressure.
Controlled ventilation with heat recovery
Passivhaus buildings should incorporate a mechanical ventilation system by means of air inlet grilles and vents that will constantly renew the indoor air, recovering part of the extracted energy and maintaining optimal air conditions for hygiene and comfort inside the house without opening windows.
Window frames must be well insulated and sealed to prevent temperature transmission and air infiltration.
The glass selection is essential to allow maximum sunlight and minimal heat transmission.