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‘House of Energy’ Earns Premium Status

Thursday, November 12, 2015

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A mixed-use building in Kaufbeuren, Germany, uses so little energy that it has been certified as the first Passive House Premium in the world.

Aptly named "The House of Energy," the structure uses just 8 kWh/(m²a) (0.7 kWh/sq ft) of Primary Energy Renewables (PERs) and produces 103 kWh/(m²a) (9.6 kWh/sq ft) of PERs, according to a Nov. 5 article in Gizmag.

Photos: Airoptima

The House of Energy in Kaufbeuren, Germany, is the first to receive the Passive House Institute's Passive House Premium certification.

Its energy production actually falls short of the 120 kWh/(m²a) (11.1 kWh/sq ft) PER standard for Passive House Premium certification set by the Passive House Institute (PHI). But as Gizmag reports, the Institute named it the first Passive House Premium because its PER consumption is so low.

To be classified as a Passive House Premium, buildings must consume no more than 30 kWh/(m²a) (2.8 kWh/sq ft) of PERs. The House of Energy uses much less than that, Gizmag said.

“This is another milestone for the entire passive house industry,” said House of Energy owner Markus Meyer, who is the manager of the building services company Airoptima that designed the house.

“We are all very proud.”

The house was certified by the German construction company Herz & Lang, which specializes in energy-efficient construction, according to a PHI statement. Airoptima will receive its certificate for the House of Energy during Passive House Days, set for Nov. 14-15.

House Statistics

The three-story building is 900 square meters (9,688 square feet) and is home to several offices, including Airoptima. According to Passive House, it also has space for the operations manager’s apartment; a training center; and a permanent exhibition on the topic of “Construction and Refurbishment.”

The mixed-used building includes offices for several companies; an apartment; a training center; and a permanent exhibition on the topic of “Construction and Refurbishment.”

To achieve its energy efficiency, the House of Energy uses triple-glaze windows; an airtight building envelope; a mostly thermal-bridge-free construction; and a ventilation system with heat recovery, PHI said.

A 250 sq m (2,691 sq ft) photovoltaic system on the roof produces the PERs that provides most of the building’s heating needs. Whatever surplus remains is fed back into the power grid, PHI said. A ground-source heat pump is used for the remaining small heating demand and hot water.

The House of Energy was designed by architect Barbara Glantschnig, according to Airoptima. It opened in 2014.

Passive Classes

PHI introduced its Passive House Premium certification in March at the same time it introduced another certification, Passive House Plus. As previously reported, an apartment building in Austria was the first to receive the Passive House Plus certification in August.

A photovoltaic system on the roof produces the PERs for most of the building’s heating needs. A ground-source heat pump is used for the remaining heating demand and hot water.

The previous PHI standards now fall into a third category: Passive House Classic. For the Classic category, a building cannot consume more than 60 kWh/(m²a) of PERs. A Plus cannot consume more than 45 kWh/(m²a) of PERs and the Premium—at the top of the line—can consume only 30 kWh/(m²a) of PERs, the group said.

But Plus and Premium certified buildings also must generate PERs. For Plus, the PHI standard is at least 60 kWh/(m²a) of energy in relation to the area covered by the building. The sun and wind provide most of the PERs for the Plus and Premium Passive Houses.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Building enclosure system; Building Envelope; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Energy efficiency; Green design; Passive house; Solar energy

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