Architecture

World's first Passive House Premium building generates five times more energy than it uses

World's first Passive House Pr...
The House of Energy generates 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of energy a year and uses just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy annually
The House of Energy generates 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of energy a year and uses just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy annually
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The House of Energy generates 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of energy a year and uses just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy annually
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The House of Energy generates 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of energy a year and uses just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy annually
The House of Energy is located in Kaufbeuren, Germany
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The House of Energy is located in Kaufbeuren, Germany
The House of Energy covers an area of 900 sq m (9,688 sq ft)
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The House of Energy covers an area of 900 sq m (9,688 sq ft)
The House of Energy is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings
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The House of Energy is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings
The House of Energy has an annual heating demand of 8 kWh / sq m (0.7 kWh / sq ft)
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The House of Energy has an annual heating demand of 8 kWh / sq m (0.7 kWh / sq ft)
The House of Energy produces 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of renewable energy annually
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The House of Energy produces 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) of renewable energy annually
The House of Energy features triple-glazed windows, an "excellent level" of thermal protection, a high level of building envelope airtightness, construction that is largely thermal bridge-free and a ventilation system with heat recovery
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The House of Energy features triple-glazed windows, an "excellent level" of thermal protection, a high level of building envelope airtightness, construction that is largely thermal bridge-free and a ventilation system with heat recovery
The House of Energy feeds any surplus energy that it generates back into the grid
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The House of Energy feeds any surplus energy that it generates back into the grid
The House of Energy’s overall demand for energy is just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) per year
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The House of Energy’s overall demand for energy is just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) per year
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A building in Kaufbeuren, Germany, is the first to receive Passive House Premium certification. The House of Energy is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. It has an annual heating demand of only 8 kWh / sq m (0.7 kWh / sq ft) and a 250 sq m (2,691 sq ft) photovoltaic system on the roof.

The new Passive House Premium building class was launched earlier this year, along with the Passive House Plus class. They have been developed to take into account the transition of building energy sources from fossil sources to renewable energy.

For Passive House Plus accreditation, a building must not consume more than 45 kWh / sq m (4.2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy a year and must generate at least 60 kWh / sq m (5.6 kWh / sq ft) of renewable energy a year. The stricter Passive House Premium parameters sees these figures fall to 30 kWh / sq m (2.8 kWh / sq ft) and rise to 120 kWh / sq m (11.1 kWh / sq ft), respectively.

The House of Energy actually falls slightly short of the required energy generation requirements at 103 kWh / sq m (9.6 kWh / sq ft) annually, but has still been awarded Premium accreditation due to excellent energy usage levels. Its overall demand for renewable primary energy is just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) per year, which is almost a third less than required, and thus has been allowed to compensate for slightly lower energy generation.

To achieve its Premium accreditation, the 900 sq m (9,688 sq ft) building uses a variety of technologies – none of which, it should be noted, are especially out of the ordinary today.

Energy efficiency is delivered through triple-glazed windows, an "excellent level" of thermal protection, a high level of building envelope airtightness, construction that us largely thermal bridge-free and a ventilation system with heat recovery. A number of different ventilation system were actually installed initially for comparison.

Elsewhere, a ground-source heat pump provides the small amount of additional heating and hot water that is required. Any surplus energy that is generated via the photovoltaic system, meanwhile, is fed back into the grid.

The House of Energy was completed last year. Its recently-awarded certification will be presented to the building owners over the International Passive House Days of Nov. 14th and 15th, when the building will also be open for public visits.

Sources: Passive House Institute, Passive House Database, Airoptima

View gallery - 9 images
8 comments
quax
And it also has all the architectural charm of a barcoded brick.
physics314
Marvelous! It is wonderful to see people pulling away from the bottomless energy pits that are the house designs of today.
HensleyBeuronGarlington
That's pretty awesome. I think more flare could be added to give more appealing style, but considering what it does, pretty awesome.
dafunkmonster
Yes, but how much did it cost to build? How much more energy went into producing the materials and constructing this building than would have gone into a similar building constructed with conventional materials? And how long will it last? How much will it cost to maintain or replace components of this building as they age and deteriorate? Energy efficiency should be measured by the total energy required to build and maintain the structure over its expected lifetime, not just its daily net energy cost. The question is, how long will it take a building like this to produce enough excess energy to offset the cost of constructing it? And is it expected to last that long in the first place?
ivan4
The figures given for this 'house' are meaningless because I have to assume they are for the unoccupied structure. What happens when people live there? Where does the power come from for lighting at night? What about cooling in the summer? Any fool can design an empty box that is energy efficient. The problem is that people have the tendency to mess up those calculations especially if they live there 24/7/365. Even if it is an office block I very much doubt that the power needs of the computing and other electrical equipment have been taken into consideration and what happens when some people need to work late - where does their power come from after sunset. Also with an office building there are government regulations about such things as number of complete air changes per day, working environment temperatures and so on. All of these types of buildings look fine on paper but always fail when messy people get involved with them.
Thane36425
Indeed. How much did it cost to build, all things considered? It probably isn't cost effective. Also, how much pollution and energy went into building all of those components? Probably quite a lot, and more than would be the case in a normal, well-insulated house. What about health issues from being so closed up? What about humidity, mold buildup, chemicals in the air, etc.? The place will need some ventilation.
michael_dowling
SIP housing is already super efficient,costs about the same as stick housing,and goes up fast: http://construction.about.com/od/Materials/a/Structural-Insulated-Panels-Benefits.htm
pmshah
"uses just 21 kWh / sq m (2 kWh / sq ft) of renewable primary energy annually " This does not take into account the "non-renewable energy" consumption or does it? @Thane36425 You are talking about health issues! I have lived in Chicago area for 6 years. I have visited plenty of so called modern buildings, build my conventional methods using conventional raw materials that absolutely stink, almost the year round as there was NO provision for ventilation in the common areas like the elevators, passages and stairwells. All this to reduce heating costs during the winter. Something I have NOT experienced in any building in Germany. BTW I have spent over 400 days in Germany on multiple trips lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 days.