Durability of Building Fabric Components and Ventilation Systems in Passive Houses

Wolfgang Feist & Rainer Pfluger & Wolfgang Hasper

The passive house concept specifically improves insulation of exterior building components, utilization of passive solar gains, airtightness and heat recovery from ventilation air. Reducing also heat losses from thermal bridges, the energy balance is improved significantly resulting in net heating demands lower than 15 kWh/(m2a) which is less than one-tenth of the typical heating energy in the average of existing buildings.

The design concept can be used for every new building, and many thousand examples have so far been built for different use, in several climates and based on different construction type (e.g. concrete, timber, mixed). The very first prototype is a terraced house with four dwellings built 1990/1991 in Darmstadt. This building uses typical masonry external walls, concrete floors and a timber roof and can be seen as a representative example for highly energy-efficient construction.

By monitoring all relevant energy flows through the building’s envelope during a period of more than 25 years, it has been confirmed that the energy consumption is as extraordinarily low as designed and stable over the whole period. This article especially investigates how this has affected the indoor climate.

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