Passivhaus – ‘Passive House’ – is the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world. At the time of writing, over 30,000 buildings had been designed and built, with the majority of these arriving in the 21st Century.
Passive House standards are simple in their approach: build a house that has excellent thermal performance, exceptional airtightness and mechanical ventilation. That – in its simplest form – is it!
Using such simple guiding principles allows the architect / designer to minimise the ‘Heating Demand’ of the building. In some exceptional circumstances, the only heat source might be a heated towel rail that acts as a means of conventional heating. This heat can then be recovered and circulated by a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit.
The Passivhaus Origins
Developed in Germany in the early 1990s, the Passive House standard originated with Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany. The first houses to be completed to the Passive House Standard were constructed in Darmstadt in 1991.
It’s not only residential dwellings that can benefit from the standard. Commercial, industrial and public buildings can also be designed with these key principles in mind.
This has led to the following functional definition of a Passive House:
“A Passive House is a building, for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
…meaning the heating requirement in a Passive House is reduced to the point where a traditional heating system is no longer considered essential. Cooling is also minimised by the same principles and through the use of shading and in some cases via the pre-cooling of the supply air. Night purging and the use of natural cross-ventilation through open windows is encouraged during the summer months.
As well as being an energy performance standard, Passive House also provides excellent indoor air quality. This is achieved by reducing the air infiltration rates and supplying fresh air which is filtered and post heated by the MVHR unit.
Where Monolith connects with Passive House
As we’ve mentioned in previous news articles, our entire product range has been designed to complement innovative building methods, and are fast becoming the go-to range for forward-thinking planners, architects and self-builders.
Where the Passive House standard focuses on maximizing the airtightness and thermal performance of a building’s interior, we’ve been working hard to see how the exterior finish can also benefit the thermal envelope.
Our products help in many ways, including during the construction phase and throughout the longevity of the building:
BrickPlus: Pro integrates a fire-retardant mesh into twelve brick slips to create a panel, ideal for rapid installation. The benefits include:
- Increasing application quantity whilst decreasing application time.
- Very low porosity – 90% less absorption than clay brick, meaning the building sheds water much, much quicker.
- Easier to work with, handle and apply.
- Can be made to order in multiple colours, textures and finishes.
- Higher strength per gram than a traditional brick slip.
StonePlus is a true alternative to traditional stone that is extremely lightweight. It has the same look and feel as stone, but is around 75% lighter whilst being equally as strong and weather resistant. Benefits include:
- Lightweight stone alternative – two man jobs are easily converted to one.
- Easy to handle, fit and manipulate, lessening Health & Safety concerns on-site.
- Can be tailored specifically to the requirements of your project.
- Almost endless designs are available in a wide variety of natural stone colours.
BrickPlus: Eco is one of our most popular products for Passive House buildings as it adds thermal value to a project. It consists of twelve of our BrickPlus: EcoSlip products which are bonded to lightweight, fire retardant, high grade EPS panels. This forms a system of interlocking devices that can dramatically increase the speed that a brick slip wall can be covered.
- Easy to install.
- Rapid fit – 75% quicker than traditional methods.
- Thermally efficient.
- Ecologically enhanced for your project.
- If scaffolding is required on your project, it can be hired for a much shorter timeframe, with no loading platforms necessary – reducing your costs.
BrickPlus: EcoSlips is our range of thermally efficient brick slips. They are produced as individual slips on a 10mm lightweight, fire retardant, high grade EPS back panel. As with all our products, they can be made in a wide variety of colours, textures and finishes. They have very similar benefits to our BrickPlus: Eco product.
In conclusion, our entire range is ideally suited to Passive House properties – small or large. Whatever you have in mind, contact us to see how we can add value to the exterior of your build. Take a look at our Bespoke Brick option, if you have something creative in mind – we love a challenge!