Non-residential Passive House Buildings
Perhaps confusingly, the Passive House standard doesn’t just apply to houses and homes. Any building, from offices to sports halls, can be designed in accordance with this low energy standard.
The principles of any Passive House building, be it domestic, commercial or industrial, remain the same. However, the benefits in a non-residential building can be even more significant. The key to function of many buildings that are designed to accommodate a lot of people is a well-designed ventilation system. This element is included in every Passive House building as standard.
The profile of the user, function of the building and operating hours are all key aspects to designing a non-residential Passive House. However, the key principles remain the same. High levels of insulation, fresh air supply, minimal thermal bridging, airtightness with an efficient, high quality building fabric to provide a comfortable, healthy indoor environment.
Fresh air supply
Due to the constant cycling of fresh air and extraction of stale air, a Passive House building should not need the additional airing that many buildings require, particularly at the height of Summer. With a well-designed ventilation system, even large quantities of fresh air at room temperature can be provided to densely occupied rooms such as classrooms.
Of course, it’s not just staying warm in Winter that can be an issue for building users. Remaining cool and comfortable in Summer is just as important.
As discussed, windows can be opened in a Passive House Building and during the hottest months, motorised flaps to purge heat at night may well be of benefit. In addition, many MVHR units include a Summer bypass to bring in cool air at night.
Heat gains during the day can be reduced with adequate shading. The high level of insulation of the building will also play a key role, though in Summer this will be keeping the heat out of the building as opposed to keeping it in.