Passive House Ireland – FAQ

(a) Why build a Passive House?
Building a Passive House can make you energy independent, by being self-sufficient you will be future proofed against inevitable fossil fuel price rises, resulting in a self-financing decision.
(b) Is an airtight house stuffy?
No, Airtightness is a critical component of achieving an energy efficient home, the Heat Recovery Ventilation or HRV and airtightness are utilised to control the ventilation and maximise the level of airtightness within the building, allowing clean fresh air into the building. Through the heat exchanger the clean fresh air passes over the warm exhaust air thereby heating the fresh air without expending any energy on reheating it.
(c) Can I open the windows in an airtight house?
Yes of course you can, and in the summer the HRV is switched to Summer Bypass mode and so will allow cool fresh air flow into the building. In the colder Winter months you will probably keep the windows closed to get the maximum efficiency from your heating.
(d) What is involved in Building a Passive Certified House?
As a Passive House is more demanding than a conventional Irish house in regard to conception, design and execution of construction work, a quality approval process for checking and verification purposes must be maintained for performance and certification.

The main certification criteria, applicable to residential Passive House buildings, are described as follows:

  • Specific Space Heat Demand max. 15 kWh/(m2a)
  • Pressurization Test Result n50 max. 0,6 h-1
  • Entire Specific Primary Energy Demand max. 120 kWh/(m2a) incl. domestic electricity.
  • Useful cooling Demand (if applicable) max. 15 kWh/(m2a)

The above criteria for the Passive House is non exhaustive through GBC will be verified in the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP), by Passive House Institut, Germany.

(e) If I want to build Passive do I need to build to Passive certified level?
No, although GBC has built both Passive Certified & Enerphit Houses, the majority of clients look to build to a Passive or Near Passive Standard, (Case study) i.e. the same level of efficiencies and benefits without the Certification, talk to us about your requirements.