The Passivhaus standard for Australia typically requires windows to be European in format and performance, triple glazed with high performance (low emissivity) glass and be constructed of a high thermal performing timber frame with full perimeter seals.  External doors must be insulated and have full perimeter seals too.  The highest performance windows need to be specified as the supply air is used to heat the dwelling, otherwise the heat loss is too high and it is not possible to achieve a comfortable indoor temperature.  A benefit of high performance triple glazing is that the surface temperature of the windows is similar to that of the surrounding internal surfaces – the occupants will not experience thermal discomfort even on the coldest winter or hottest summer days.

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AIRTIGHTNESS LAYER - Ultra draught-proofing

Measuring the air “leakiness” of a building in Australia is rare.  Unwanted air infiltration significantly increases the space heating or cooling requirement, and causes localised discomfort due to draughts and excessive heat gain.  Ultra draught proofing eliminates these problems.  The Passivhaus standard requires an air infiltration rate of 0.6 Air Change per hour @ 50 Pa (Blower Door Test) or less.  Achieving this level of airtightness requires a strategy to be developed at the design stage, and onsite requires careful use of appropriate layers, specialist sealing tapes and moisture control membranes to form a continuous barrier.

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The necessity for a tight building fabric means that a modest mechanical ventilation system with heat/energy recocery (MVHR) is required to maintain the quality of indoor air by replacing unwanted odours, moisture and carbon dioxide, with 100% fresh air.  People can still freely open and close the windows as they see fit.  The heat exchanger does not mix the fresh incoming air with the exhaust air, but simply exchanges heat/coolth to significatnly reduce the heating/cooling requirement. The health and comfort of the inhabitants are the most important objectives of Passivhaus design. Fresh air and low CO2 levels are typical. Heat recovery efficiency of greater than 80% and a low specific fan power is required.  In a Passivhaus there is another advantage when specifying a MVHR system - the opportunity to heat or cool the dwelling in the air system.

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Passive House Pty Ltd knows one of the most important principles of a Passivhaus is appropriate types of insulation applied continuously around the building envelope without thermal bridging; and for Australia, insulation that reduces radiant heat gain as well as conductive heat losses.  As a result, the heat losses and gains are negligible and the temperatures of the internal surfaces are almost the same as the indoor air temperature.  This leads to a very comfortable indoor climate.  To ensure high thermal comfort during Summer, well designed shading, low emissivity insulation & coatings, and sufficient ventilation are important too. 

What can Passive House supply to improve the thermal comfort of your building? 



Blower Door Testing is essential to ensure effective air tightness in construction.

Passive House can Blower Door Test your building to quantify air infiltration


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