Integrated design is a key element of successful passivhaus design, as I wrote about in a previous post. Certified passivhaus designers and consultants are often architects, building services engineers or sustainability specialists. So how important to the integrated design process is the structural engineer? The answer is: vitally important!
There are significant benefits in having a structural engineer who is also a certified passivhaus designer on the team as this post explores. Where this isn’t possible, at the very least the structural engineer needs a good understanding of passivhaus and the importance of their role in the design process.
Structural engineering has a significant impact on design simplicity, thermal continuity, airtightness and more.
Is passivhaus a niche pursuit for ‘energy geeks’ and ‘treehuggers’? It may have started that way but it is rapidly gaining momentum in the UK and becoming highly relevant to the mainstream construction industry.
My friend Darren Lester, the founder of SpecifiedBy, invited me to write a guest blog for his site. (If you haven’t discovered it yet, SpecifiedBy is an incredibly useful resource, the online Building Regulations section have been a life saver for me!) The readers of his blog are from a broad spectrum of the UK construction industry, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss three reasons why passivhaus is highly relevant to the mainstream UK construction industry.
The reasons I discuss are:
- Climate Change
- EU legislation
- Making a difference
Please visit the SpecifiedBy.com blog and have a read.
And please share the blog with friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the UK construction industry so they can learn why passivhaus is relevant to them.
Passivhaus buildings are sometimes criticised by environmentally minded designers as being “hermetically sealed” boxes that can’t “breathe”. These designers have the best intentions of creating healthy and energy efficient buildings where people have direct control over their indoor environment and a close relationship with the outdoor environment. And they fear the passivhaus standard won’t allow a building to provide this. Luckily, their fear is unfounded. Let’s take a closer look at the two aspects of this criticism:
What does it mean for a building to be “hermetically sealed” and does the Passivhaus Standard require this?
What does it mean for a building to “breath” and does the Passivhaus Standard allow this?