Passive houses: comfortable, sustainable and resilient

What are the new practices in the construction sector to achieve an efficient building that minimizes the energy demand of a building and that is aligned with global design strategies? The answer to this question, that many of us ask ourselves when thinking about caring for the environment, is: PASSIVE HOUSES.

What are they?
They are constructions that follow the same criteria throughout the world, lowering energy consumption by 90% compared to traditional houses. They originated in 1990 in Germany where the first house was created and certified under performance standards.


To know more about the "Passivhaus Standard" we contacted the director of the Latin American Institute PassivHaus, Juan Manuel Vazquez, Agricultural Engineer U.B.A, MP 15.837.

“It’s a performance standard, with the highest energy efficiency by far, a home with a consumption of 15kWh/m² per year for heating and the same for refraction is set” defines the director of the Institute.
For a building to be considered a passive house, it needs five main principles; thermal insulation, avoiding thermal bridges, high performance doors and windows, airtightness and last but not least controlled ventilation with heat recovery.

• Thermal insulation: have the use of a correct thermal envelope with low transmittance, to isolate the house from the outside, preventing heat from escaping in winter and entering in summer.
 • Avoid thermal bridges: ensure that the construction is free of thermal bridges, since they are weak points in the structure through which heat is lost. Bridges can be detected through thermography.
• High-performance doors and windows: triple glazing, low transmittances and proper installation in doors and windows are used, which can save costly heat losses. The orientation of the same is also of the major importance, so there is good solar control.
• Airtightness: all the enclosures of the house ensure the watertightness of the house, achieving an airtightness effect that prevents heat loss.
• Controlled ventilation with heat recovery: refers to resorting to mechanical ventilation with high performance heat recovery, which allows ventilation by recovering between 80% and 90% of the energy inside the building itself.


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