As a continuation of the series of articles about passive houses, we decided to describe the basic principles when designing passive houses. The information was provided by Ecopan architect Olga Nasonova.


To create an energy-efficient house you only need to follow 3 rules: Conserve and use the energy of the sun, wind, tide, geometric energy. Today we want to show and tell you how with the help of architectural solutions and technology of building materials to keep heat in the house and manage its thermal balance.


In design it is necessary to consider an important combination of two factors that directly affect the receipt and preservation of thermal energy, this is the planning solution and building envelopes.


In the planning, the decision should be made so that the maximum amount of solar energy gets where we need and stays where we want. This is accomplished by correctly orienting the house to the sides of the world. It is a fundamental rule for a warm house, and what qualifies a house for the term passive house.


Also, the compactness of the house is important for conserving thermal energy. The ratio of the surface area of the envelope to the volume it confines should be as small as possible. But do not take this literally, as, spherical houses, can find a buyer only among the avant-garde.


At first glance, it may seem that the floor plan is not at all compact angular, but it is not so.


The spaces to the north and east – terraces and unheated garage, if you remove them, then the form of the main part of the house becomes compact with the shifted inward entry group to protect the entrance from precipitation and wind. But do not forget about the summer rooms and the garage, so they serve as a primary buffer zone, protecting the entire house from heat loss on the north side. And entering the house, starting from the entrance group, there are some non-residential premises inside, which form the primary buffer zone between the north and the living rooms. And that heat that the living room receives from the southwest-east is retained here as well thanks to the two buffer zones from the north. The second floor is built on the same principle. A row of non-residential rooms creates one block to the north and two bedrooms are oriented southeast and west.


The building envelope of the house comes in two types. It is a concrete heat-accumulating trommel wall that passively heats the living rooms of the house.


And the main part of the envelope is made of sip panels. These are the roof walls and the slab. And if the trombone wall gives the heat, the role of vulture panel technology to maximize the preservation of this heat.


So why is it appropriate to use the veneer panels for energy-saving construction?


It’s all about their thermal conductivity. Styrofoam, which we use has a thermal conductivity of 0.039. Thus the vinyl panel of thickness 200 mm has resistance to heat transfer.


Tightness. Which minimizes heat losses and creates a barrier to thermal energy.


So the main conditions to achieve energy savings are:




High resistance to heat transfer of walls

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