Latest projects & news
- Wolf partner with Genersys Solar
- Passive House in Newbridge (video on Homepage)
- Vphase: Sunday Times & featured on DIY:SOS
- Energy efficiency ratings to be compulsory for home sales
- CNN meets Hans Eek & reports on PassivHaus retrofits
- Hans Eek - The Vision & the Visionary of the Passive House Concept
Why Sustainable Homes
Passive houses are sustainable homes that are far more than your average eco friendly homes because they are a building in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. Essentially, the passive house heats and cools itself, hence passive. The combined energy consumption of a passive house is actually less than the average new European home requires for household electricity and hot water alone.
Passive houses only use 10% energy consumption, compared to a traditional new build that complies with applicable national energy/building regulations, making for highly energy-efficient homes.
When applying the Code for Sustainable Homes to such construction, a Passive House reaches Code level 6 while a low-energy house only reaches a Code level 3 or 4 (depending on how all 9 catergories are incorporated).
How does it work?
There are four key areas that comprise the Passive Home system:
1. Very high levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges
2. Intelligent use of solar and internal gains
3. Excellent level of airtightness
4. Good indoor air quality provided by a mechanical ventilation system
With these features for sustainable homes in place, passive houses do not need a traditional heating system or active cooling to be comfortable to live in - the small heating demand can be met using a small electric heater within the ventilation system (although there are a variety of alternative solutions), making them the ultimate in eco-friendly homes.
The timber frame is air tight, insulating and incredibly robust. When assembled they create a wall with exceptional thermal qualities, no thermal bridges and incredible durability, making them popular in areas prone to earthquakes, tornados and forest fire.
Timber frame walls have U-values as low as 0.11 w/m²k making them ideal for zero energy buildings – and because they are manufactured to fit your design the building process for these sustainable homes is quick, tidy and precise, with lower labour and equipment costs than alternative methods.
Because of the comprehensive range of components, timber frame construction offers unbelievable flexibility of design and allow you to choose internal and external cladding in a wide range of finishes, including plaster, masonry, curtain walling and renders. The use of timber frame construction and insulated concrete forms (ICF) means that these house designs for sustainable homes are the ultimate eco-friendly homes.
How are air circulation and additional heating requirements catered for?
With timber frame components supplying the necessary insulation and airtightness, you need a complimentary system to provide adequate ventilation and prevent the air getting stale, as well as make up for any shortfall in heating requirements.
This is achieved most efficiently by transferring heat from the stale to the fresh air during the ventilation process. Using our mechanical ventilation system (MVHR), heat is recycled from warm indoor air to the new fresh air coming in – it’s a process that is so efficient that air entering the room will only be approximately one or two degrees cooler than the room it enters.
Technical specifications for Passive Homes:
For Europe (40 - 60 degree Northern latitudes), a dwelling is deemed to satisfy the Passive House sustainable homes criteria if:
- the total energy demand for space heating and cooling is less than 15 kWh/m2/yr treated floor area
- the total primary energy use for all appliances, domestic hot water and space heating and cooling is less than 120 kWh/m2/yr
These figures are verified at the design stage using the Passive House Planning Package.
Rigorous quality control procedures are followed at specific stages of the build, to avoid any onsite problems that may prevent excellent levels of airtightness and thermal insulation being achieved – Wolf Passive Homes provide onsite management to ensure Passive House criterea are met throughout the building process and that the highest quality of work goes into these sustainable homes.