Mosstroy-31, one of the largest Russian manufacturers of heat insulating materials for building envelopes, has surprised construction professionals with its new project – a house based on the Passive House system.
Today, passive houses are the most effective and modern types of building. They not only retain heat, but also reduce the consumption of natural energy resources, and thus save on utility costs. They are also very comfortable and environmentally safe for humans. Optimal temperature, humidity and air purity is automatically maintained in passive houses.
A house with low energy consumption is a building whose overall primary energy use does not exceed 120 kWh/m2/yr. This primary energy consumption indicator means that the passive house reduces all household utilities to a minimum consumption of energy.
Mosstroy-31, in collaboration with German specialists and architects from the Passive House Institute, built the first building in Russia to be certified to European standards.
The main idea of the passive house was that the building’s heat loss should be reduced to the extent that separate heating is not required, except for the bathrooms, where, as a rule, a higher temperature is necessary.
The building was designed in such a way that the small need heat for heat can be achieved by heating the incoming air from the balanced ventilation system with heat recovery.
The main component for a passive house is a high-quality exterior thermal insulation shell. The thermal insulation should have high thermo-technical properties and be able to cover the entire area of the building’s exterior walls without gaps. A number of European firms have used facade systems for heating for both new buildings and for the retrofitting of old buildings to the Passive House standard.
In the design of passive houses separate attention is given to linear and point thermal bridges. If there is a fault in the design, the presence of thermal bridges can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the thermal insulating shell.
The passive house uses high quality triple glazing with an inert gas filling and two low-emission coatings. The window profiles were developed specifically for the passive house. The profiles were produced wider than standard and have highly-efficient heat insulating liners.
The outer shell of the house is air-tight and hermetically sealed with the windows, doors and various utility systems running through it.
To reduce the considerable heat loss from ventilation, the house uses a balanced ventilation system with heat recovery. The thermal efficiency of the recuperator must be more than 75% (though there are models with thermal efficiency of over 90%).
The air temperature inside the passive house is almost the same throughout. Depending on the local resources and climatic conditions, the small requirement for heating in a passive house can be met by a number of different systems - from traditional, centralised heating systems, or gas, liquid or solid fuel boilers to solar panels and heat pumps. Moreover, all these systems will be low-powered and compact and, therefore, cheaper than in conventional buildings.