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The Concept of Passive House

This type of construction is not a simple trademark, but a new concept, a different way of building.

The passive house is an energetically independent household that involves the passive use of environmental energies (solar radiation through windows) and of internal heat sources (electrical appliances and inhabitants) which are enough to maintain a pleasant temperature inside the building for the entire year.

Thus, the passive house is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological. It is a perfectly tight house, with a close to zero thermal transfer, that reaches and maintains the desired thermal balance through a low energy consumption.

It can be built in any area/form of relief, without the necessity of other utilities (water, power, gas).  

The passive house is the future, it is the respect for nature and human beings; it is the non-polluting and non-consuming house. For instance in 2020, in France, only passive houses will be built, taking into account the depletion of natural gas reserves.    

The concept of construction ensures sustainability in the development and continuation of the human society. It means comfort, economy, the gift of nature for men and men’s gift for nature.

1. In a passive house there is a significant cut of expenses

Compared to a classic house, whose power bill tends to increase progressively, the power saving of a passive house is of 75-80%. Thus, the external power need is lower than in the case of a normal house, due to the maximum use of the following heat sources: 

  • Heat produced by the human body
  • Heat produced by electrical appliances 
  • Heat coming from the activities carried out inside the house 
  • Heat from the Sun -  that is why the joinery needs to be South oriented. 
  • Heat coming from the land the house is built on.  

The main reason for the energetic efficiency is the thermal insulation of the foundation, walls and structure, through the use of insulation materials and technology without thermal breaks. Thus, the cost of the power bill will decrease 10 times compared to a traditional house. In other words, in case of a regular house, the yearly maintenance can reach 450 euro on average, while for a passive house these expenses cost under 100 euro.  

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2. A passive house is completely built in 6-9 weeks on average

As far as the construction cost of such a house is concerned, it is 7-10% higher than the one for a traditional house. Nevertheless, it is an investment that the client only makes once in a lifetime and, due to the structure of the passive house, the maintenance expenses are significantly lower. Thus, the investment gets amortized in a shorter time span.

3. The efficient insulation of a passive house ensures a continuous thermal comfort

Living in a regular house doesn’t always translate into an optimum thermal comfort, regardless of the season. During winter it can be cold and during the summer it can get excessively hot. On the contrary, in a wooden house one can notice a comfortable interior climate both during the summer and the winter, due to an efficient insulation. A passive house can have a 40-50 cm thick wall, out of which an exterior  insulating layer of 20-30 cm, therefore an efficient thermo-insulation that eliminates the energy transfer to/from the outside.

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In addition, the walls of wooden houses are built of 7-9 layers, depending on the chosen model, and the insulating materials are positions in layers in the cavity of the wall to obtain a superior thermal insulation through a much thinner layer. Thus, the house is warmer and 10-15% more spacious.

4. Air health at its best

Compared to a classic house, the atmosphere in a passive house is airier, hence the absence of allergens, mold and moisture that deteriorate the construction and the inhabitants’ health. The exceptional comfort given by the permanently fresh air in the house is a result of several aspects.    

Firstly, it is due to the system of mechanical ventilation. More exactly, a heat exchanger ventilation system is mounted. The fresh air passes through a “heat exchanger” which transmits the heat of the exhausted air to the fresh air.  Under certain conditions, the heat loss can be reduced up to 80% as compared to a building with ventilation through windows.

That doesn’t mean that the windows and doors of a passive house cannot be opened. On the contrary, the inhabitant can enjoy at all times the outside environment without a decisive impact on saving the inside energy.   

Secondly, the air health is also maintained due to the use of wood as a construction material. Because wood is a porous material, air form the outside enters through the wood fibers, being naturally filtered. And the resin inside the logs will give the house a unique natural flavor, with a beneficial effect on sleep and the respiratory system. 

Because the passive house truly breathes, the inhabitant will not develop allergies or diseases of the respiratory system. Moreover, due to insulation, the temperature variation is significantly reduced, thus preventing condensation and mold. Furthermore, the constructive elements are built with dry materials, in a perfectly controlled environment, to prevent moisture from entering the living space.  

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5. An eco choice for living

Living in a passive house shows respect for nature because, first of all, all the materials used are ecological. For insulation we use mineral wool or recyclable materials (wood fibers or wool) which ensure an inside atmosphere that is beneficial for the human body. On the other side, wood is a renewable material, whose exploitation building the DornaEcoHouse houses will never exceed the quantity of trees that grow annually.  

Secondly, the greenhouse effect is caused by the gases coming from the excessive use of energy and which lead to global warming. But wooden houses emit 26% less greenhouse gases than those with steel structure and 31% less than those with concrete structure. 

On top of that, as far as the production of the raw materials for building a wooden house is concerned, 23% less polluting substances are emitted than in the case of classic houses: steel, AAC or concrete.   

All these aspects considered, as well as due to the minimum consumption of energy and fossil fuel, the passive house perfectly integrates in the environment. It can be argued that living in a passive house is a truly wise choice, both for the family and the environment. It is a house where you can really live.  

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