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Knowledge Base - FAQs

PassivHaus (Passive House) is an internationally recognised building standard ensuring a more comfortable and healthy home whilst drastically reducing energy consumption. This robust method of design means everything is virtually prototyped at the design stage to ensure optimal performance of every element for the specific location of the building. Passivhaus … it just makes sense!

PassiveHaus follows a very comprehensive and calculated development process. At the design stage, we use specific software which takes into account building elements like materials and products, shading, and mechanical systems which greatly impact comfort levels and energy usage. This data is then used to project and develop elements which will create the optimal economic performance of the building. These key elements include: airtightness, mechanical ventilation, appropriate specification of insulation and glazing, thermal bridge reduction or elimination, condensation and moisture management. 

Passive House occupants may open windows whenever they want. … Of course, as with all houses, if windows are left open for longer periods with extreme outdoor temperatures, the inside air temperature will be affected and energy consumption for heating/cooling will increase.

 

The Passive House is the world leading standard in energy-efficient construction: A Passive House requires as little as 10 percent of the energy used by typical Central European buildings – meaning an energy savings of up to 90 percent.

A Passive House is created with airtightness, mechanical ventelation, efficient insulation and superior glazing in mind! 

  • In comparison to a standard Australian build, a Passive House is wrapped with a breathable membrane instead of standard builders wrap to establish airtightness. A blower door test is then used to ensure build quality. The result is significantly less air changes within the house, which increases heating and cooling efficiency, decreases dust and means less vermin! 
  • Mechanical ventilation is installed to bring fresh and medically grade filtered air into the home while extracting stale, humid air when the house is shut up due to hot or cold weather. 
  • Our modelling ensures the best amount of insulation is installed in the home for the lowest energy consumption during both winter and summer.  

Modelling is also used to demonstrate optimum glazing for your building with thermally broken double glazed windows installed as a minimum requirement.

When building a Passive house you are ensured superior building quality, health benefits, energy consumption savings and less maintenance! 

  • Your home will be at or above any future building standard ensuring that as standards improve your home will not be left behind and maintain capital growth. The quality is ensured throughout the process as components are durable and designed for a minimum 30 year lifespan (50 years in the case of the building envelope).
  • Filtered air when the house is shut up will benefit those suffering from allergies, hayfever or asthma, while also protecting your home from the impacts of air pollution and bushfires. The constant, comfortable temperature provides a pleasant living environment all year round with CO2 levels inside the home also kept constant to reduce the feeling of stuffiness. There is less chance of mould growth around window frames and cornices, less dust and less chance of vermin entering the house. 
  • Reduced energy consumption will save you money all year round, along with medical and health maintenance costs reduced for some Passive House home owners.
  • Less dust and less mould results in less cleaning needed to maintain your Passive House.

A Passive House will cost 5-10% more than a standard Australian build up front, but the ongoing savings made on energy consumption provide long term savings that far outweigh the initial investment. The installation of double glazed windows/doors, heat recovery system, taping all the building wraps and making your home more airtight provide a drastic reduction in energy costs. Economic modelling shows that when using conservative figures for interest rates, energy price rises etc that your monthly mortgage payments plus energy costs are a lot less than if you were to build a standard quality home due to drastic reduction in energy costs.

Not at all! It is a common misconception that Passive Houses require triple glazed windows to meet passive house certification requirements in Australia. In fact, in most areas of Australia thermally broken double glazed windows are sufficient in meeting the criteria for certification. The beauty of the performance based system is that it is relevant to the climate of the location of your house and that the criteria may be relaxed to suit your situation.  

No, not all double glazed units are the same. If upgrading the windows  in  your current home or specifying them in your new home, before making that purchase consider that there is a considerable difference between standard and better double glazing. A slight premium will improve the double glazing, provide a thermally broken frame, as well as the spacer between the glass panes, reducing the likelihood of mould formation.

We use multiple types of software to perform our building science and design services. These include: PHPP, Design pH, Flixo Pro, WUFI Pro, Sketchup and Revit.

Yes, we work with a lot of architects to virtually model and prototype their designs to meet Passive House criteria.

Not all existing buildings can be renovated to Passive House standard, but this doesn’t mean you can’t improve your current house standard! The Passive House Institute developed the EnerPHit criteria which allows more flexibility with criteria whilst still achieving very good comfort and energy savings.

We design your home with climate change in mind! Modelling using Passive House Certified or Metenorm climate data to virtually prototype all aspects of the performance of the home provides peace of mind when it comes to climate change.  We also provide a results variant using the IPCC 2050 A2 climate data as a ‘crash’ case should the predictions of climate change occur. This demonstrates the resilience of your home or building and what may need to be done in the future (if anything as often is the case).