What is a Passive House?
In a nutshell, the goals of the passive building approach can be summarized as attempting to “maximize your gains, minimize your losses” using strategic architectural standards. The purpose of a passive building is to “attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency” without having to sacrifice the comfort of heating and cooling systems. The standards of the Passivhaus certification use the building’s architecture to make a highly efficient and air-tight building that significantly cuts a homeowner’s energy costs and lowers environmental impact. To reach these energy-saving goals, passive buildings are modeled following 5 building-science principles:
- Employing continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
- The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
- It employs high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors.
- It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
- Managing solar gain to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
Far from making a sacrifice for lower energy consumption, well-built passive homes are noted for having excellent air quality, comfortably maintaining a stable internal temperature through all seasons, and being extremely durable structures because of their quality building materials.
Quality Materials Matter
Having quality materials when constructing a passive home will ensure the building to be successfully efficient and durable. This family home in Asturias, Spain, is being built using a natural slate facade and slate roofing. Not only does using slate tile as both siding and roofing give this building a modern, regal appearance, but it is a economical choice that embraces using environmentally-friendly materials.
Requiring only the process of extracting and shaping, natural slate tile saves on water and energy consumption. Other popular building materials such as terra-cotta, zinc and fibre cement demand additional treatment, expending energy and releasing CO2 emissions.
With a lifespan of 100+ years, slate tile roofing and siding is incredibly durable and weathering. With natural water resistant and fireproof properties, slate tile is prepared for the challenges of any element. Its unfading property ensures enduring quality of appearance through its long life.
Below you can see a stand-alone home that has been designed with the goal of becoming a Near Zero Energy home. This, too, has used natural slate roofing and siding tiles.
For a list of why slate cladding systems would be good for your project, click here.
Information on passive buildings taken from Phius.org.