Why is our new building good for the environment?
Our new education block, the Declan Building is finally complete. We now have six purpose built classrooms designed to support learning. However, there is more to this building than first meets the eye. Our new building is designed to be ‘Passivhaus’. You may be wondering what the term Passivhaus actually means. Well, the concept originated in Germany.
Passivhaus, literally passive house in English, refers to buildings created to rigorous energy efficient design standards so that they maintain an almost constant temperature.
Passivhaus buildings are so well constructed, insulated and ventilated that they retain heat from the sun and the activities of their occupants, requiring very little additional heating or cooling.
A Passivhaus building aims not to use as much energy in the first place by being effectively sealed against the elements.
The actual construction methods of Passivhaus buildings will vary but they will all have some features in common, including:
· Far greater insulation than typical UK properties.
· Triple glazing, with insulated frames.
· Impressive airtightness levels (around 20x more than a standard build).
· Mechanical ventilation, with heat recovery system attached.
Do we need to heat a Passivhaus Building?
· A Passivhaus building aims to reduce the need to heat the building to such an extent that you don’t need a conventional heating system. However, there will be some heating mechanism attached to the property – often it takes the form of a small heating element attached to the ventilation system.
· These use very little energy and usually only kick in once the outside temperature drops below freezing. A passivhaus will also need to have a mechanism to heat water – it could be solar heating or an air source heat pump- both of which produce no emissions at the point of use.
Hidden out of sight on the roof of the new build is a bank of solar panels.
How is this good for the environment?
Sustainability. A Passivhaus requires as little as 10 percent of the energy used by typical central European buildings – meaning an energy savings of up to 90 percent!