The Passive House:
A method Rather than a Building Style.
The details of a building, which is considering the passive method, should be developed and designed to suit the sites climate as well as the sites geographical conditions. Considerations should especially focus on the local building traditions and the specific climate conditions the site location has to offer. As climates vary immensely all over the world solutions must be adapted to each location. In the past poor results were achieved due to the rein action of passive methods used in California in mid-Europe where climates differ considerably. It must be remembered that the overall concept remains the same regardless of climate. It is a challenge to construct a nearly self-sufficient building. The physical equations remain the same only the construction conditions vary. In relation to heat in a passive build the heat demand is reduced by means of insulation, heat recovery, superwindows, passive solar gains and more. The definition of a passive house, in relation to heating, is therefore that the peak heating loads should be projected to a lower level than 10 W/m2. Heating load is just one example, cooling could be a of greater importance than heating in some climates. Some general rules of thumb are, comfort should be kept at a high level, solutions should be kept simple, insulation is highly recommended in all climates, shading is a necessity in all climates and heat recovery is need in all cold and hot climates. A traditional building design can be used as a starting point and then each element can be modified step by step.