5 Key Elements to achieve the home of your dreams.

Continuous Insulation

Easier said than done, creating what’s known as a ‘thermal envelope’, a blanket all around the home (inclusive of the glass) needs to comply with simple but strict guidelines to achieve the standard.

Taking a ‘fabric first’ approach to insulation, the ability to ensure your home’s energy bill is extremely low without harming the environment and with no restrictions on your desired architectural style.

Preventing heat or cooling loss, the building materials are carefully selected for each climate zone.

If you can imagine a ‘thermos’ the walls and the lid are super-tight when closed. The amount of energy to heat or cool is only complete once and the temperature will last for a long time.

Quality Glazing

Glass and high-performance windows are critical when it comes to achieving a Passive House. Your glass can provide insulation that reduces the loss of heat or cooling by up to 40%, and this is critical to achieving superior thermal efficiencies.

Current building standards ask you to insulate the walls, but then accept minimum glass & window standards?

Losing so much heating/cooling through the glass… It could well be the equivalent of purchasing a new fridge with a couple of holes.

A High-Performance home requires double or triple glazing filled with argon gas, with Low–e glass to help create a continuous thermal envelope.

Air-Tightness

Once the walls, floor, roof and windows are insulated effectively, the main route for heat-loss is through air leakage.

Minimizing air leakage to achieve airtightness is pivotal to achieving a High-Performance Home.

The materials required to achieve this need to allow low moisture transport in winter and a high degree of drying in summer.

Moisture in insulation needs to dry out repetitively so mould has no chance to grow.

We achieve this with humidity variable vapour retarder airtightness membranes. Technology all available right here and right now, but most builders are not using it.

– WHY?

Standard code accepts ‘minimum standards’, perhaps a reason why there we get mould epidemics in Australia, and it’s because we keep using 1970 technology to build our homes.

Not to be confused with ventilation, current building codes and our building standards, do not measure the amount of air leakage.

To get an indication of why the majority of new homes are poorly built; Most new homes when measured for air airtightness, results show 12-20 (Air changes per hour) and a Passive Home needs to achieve less than 1 (Air changes per hour).

With current GreenStar standards, up to a level of 20 (Air changes per hour) is acceptable, which is the equivalent of your brand new fridge operating with no seals.

Please be informed, don’t let your most expensive investment get built with outdated technology.

Ventilation

Natural ventilation has proven to be costly on building maintenance, human health and the environment through continuous heating and cooling. Many of us have become accustomed to living in these buildings where the gaps and leakiness rely on a form of uncontrolled ventilation to ensure that things remain steady in terms of airflow.

Air Conditioning dries up and recirculates the existing air.

Our homes once tested can be 5 times more polluted than the outdoor air.

PassivHomes use a balanced mechanical ventilation system with energy or heat recovery that transfers recovered heat/energy from the stale outgoing air to the fresh incoming air.

This new air is also filtered, giving you peace of mind that you and your family are protected from the external environment.

Occupants living in passive homes reportedly mention better sleep patterns and fewer allergies.

We want to believe that we have pure fresh air in our cities, please check daily air pollution forecasts in your area, and you will soon realise that unfortunately, it’s not as good as we think.

But how bad is Australia’s air pollution?

More than 3000 Australians die from exposure to air pollution each year. Thousands of others suffer health effects like stroke, heart disease and asthma. Australia’s current air pollution standards are not strong enough to protect human health.

Natural Ventilation, beeswax candles, house plants, essential oils, natural air purifiers are not the cure…

We don’t like to be the bearer of bad news but it is the reality, and if you are building or renovating you’re in luck as there is a solution available now.

Thermal Efficiency

Minimising or eliminating thermal bridges is another requirement to achieve a High-Performance home.

As the name suggests, transfer of heat or cold through the materials affects the indoor air temperatures, cold or hot spots.

A bit more care in planning ensures a lifetime of comfort.

Call us ‘biased’ but Passivhaus is the highest level of building standard in the world, period.

H4Living

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