Can I Make My Current House Passive?
Ok, I am often heard talking about Passive House (Passivhaus) Standard but one of the main questions I get asked is “Can I turn my current home into a passive house?” So, with that in mind I thought I would break it down.
Sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming the ‘norm’. Already, when building, we have to adhere to certain guidelines in order to pass regulations. So most builds will now conform to higher energy efficiency standards than previously, which is always a good start. Obviously it goes without saying, that building from scratch is the easiest and most efficient way of ensuring you reach Passive House Standards. But, I also appreciate that this isn’t always possible. You might not have the ability to move, you might just like your home and location, but you just want to ensure you’re getting the most from your home. Whatever your reason, there are things which can be done which will bring you closer to Passive Standard. Be warned though, they’re not all easy in retrospect and can sometimes, depending on your home, be quite costly. Achieving Passive Standard in retrospect is a very difficult task, some would say impossible.
Don’t be alarmed or put off though. Whatever happens improvements CAN be made.
When building a Passive House, you would need to consider every part of construction, right down to the design. Obviously, without demolishing your home, this isn’t something you can change in its entirety. You can of course add extensions or renovate the home, but the design will ultimately not be suited to Passive House.
When constructing a Passive House, you would need to ensure that it is completely air tight, and you would also have to think about the materials that you use. Passive Homes are often constructed using timber frames. Timber frames are used for many reasons, ranging from being more environmentally friendly, to giving better insulation.
What Can I do If I Want to Retrofit My Home To Passive Standards?
The Passivhaus Institute has set out a new standard for anyone who is looking to achieve Passive House Standard in a retrofit property. If you wanted to read more about it check out this link. https://passipedia.org/certification/enerphit
Ideally, with this standard, you would manage to reduce your heating demand by up to 90% by using passive methods.
In order to meet this standard, you will need to provide proof of the following:
· Improved Thermal Insulation
· Reduction of Thermal Bridges
· Excellent/Improved Air Tightness
· Use of high-quality windows and doors, potentially even ones which are designed specifically for Passive House Standard
· Effective and improved heat generation
· Implementation of renewable energy sources.
So, to answer your question “Can I make my current home a Passive House?” The answer is yes, and no. The chances are you wouldn’t be able to meet the Passive House Standards of a new build, but you have every chance of meeting the standards set out specifically, by Passivhaus, for a retrofit.
Don’t forget, when you’re undertaking your Building Compliances it is always best to work with an assessor at the earliest possible stage, especially for something like retrofits. You know what, I think I know a company who could help 😉