Passive or energy-saving house project - where to get?
Designing a passive or highly energy-efficient house seems to be a simple matter for novice enthusiasts of low-energy houses.. It is enough to buy a ready-made design, add more insulation, insert super energy-saving windows, install mechanical ventilation and it's ready.
It is enough to build an energy-efficient house. It is definitely not enough for those who want to build an almost passive house. Why? The house is full of architectural details, which, if not maintained, can turn into smaller and larger thermal bridges.
What we need to consider, if we want to create a reasonable design for a warm house? The basis of it:
1. Layout of rooms. Tam, where solar gains are significant - it's good to have rooms, in which we use this energy (salon, dining room and other "day" zones). Rooms, in which a lower temperature can be maintained (garage, boiler, lockers) should be from the coldest, north side.
2. The shape of the house - the more compact the house, the better the ratio of cubic volume to external walls, through which we lose heat. That is why passive houses usually have a compact shape, close to a square / rectangle. The problem is in the case of single-story houses, which, due to one floor, must have a larger building area. A one-story house, on the other hand, has so many advantages, that some sacrifice this aspect for the benefit of others.
3. Thermal bridges. This is where all the fun starts. Starting with all architectural solutions, which bridges create or where it costs a lot of money to eliminate these bridges (bay windows, balconies etc.), ending with small details such as the design of the culverts from the outside (pipes, wires), fastening of awnings, antenna, blinds etc.. At this point, we begin to feel the weakness of ready-made designs, which usually do not have these details specifically designed for low-energy houses.
4. Development of solutions that guarantee the air tightness of the building. More about tightness here
5. Adaptation to a thicker layer of thermal insulation. (if only for that, so that suddenly it does not turn out, that we have to raise the attics, because with 40 cm of wool we hit the ceiling with a slant in the bathroom, we need to extend the hood, because our wall has "grown", and on the ground floor we have a height of 2.5 m because we gave more polystyrene in the floor ...). No mistake, that we can afford very expensive super insulation materials, which may actually be less and we will fit into the standard designed thickness.
6. Adaptation to mechanical ventilation - apparently obvious, but more than once investors suddenly get sick of it, that they did not provide a place for a recuperator, ventilation ducts or diffusers
7. Development of details specific to a passive house - e.g.. foundation insulation method, window blinds for large glazing, etc..
Finally, a piece of advice. Many people buy a finished project (because cheap), but later he adjusts it to himself. The total cost is similar to the original project, in which we decide everything from the very beginning. It's just worth looking for an architect, who understands and respects the topic of energy efficiency (which, unfortunately, is not so common)