Special Issue "Passive House Development and High Energy Efficiency Sustainable Buildings"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Adrian Pitts
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK
Interests: climate sensitive/bioclimatic design; planning and design strategies at neighbourhood and urban level; environmental assessment techniques; design for health, well-being and security
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this Special Issue of the journal Sustainability is on very low energy consuming buildings as exemplified by dwellings and other stock types, which adhere to the Passive House (or Passivhaus) standard. This approach has been evolving now for 25 years, following the first Passive House construction in 1990/1991; with the 19th International Passive House Conference recently held in Leipzig in April 2015, clearly interest has not abated.

‘Passive House’ implies adherence to careful detailing in design and high levels of excellence in construction with the aim of controlling energy consumption to very low levels. In particular air flow must be carefully considered and assessed energy consumption should be below 15kWh/m2/year. Although initially devised for buildings in cold and temperate climatic conditions, the range of climates for which variations on Passive House design are now being proposed is very wide. Interest in the techniques is now global, having expanded from Europe and North America into new territories, such as China, and also with new elements and technologies beginning to be included in the methodological assessments.

Sustainability now offers the opportunity to publish the latest findings concerning Passive House and high-energy performance buildings. Papers are invited from researchers and practitioners in the field who utilize suitable scientific methodologies and techniques to investigate and then report findings on relevant aspects of these buildings. This could include aspects such as: planning; design; construction; performance; simulation; understanding by designers; attitudes of developers; reactions of occupants; investigations into developments of new techniques; and understandings of Passive House assessment methodologies.

The focus of this Special Issue will, therefore, be on explaining and demonstrating the energy performance achievements from the Passive House technological approach and similar ultra low energy building systems, with the purpose of bringing together knowledge gained over the last quarter of a century up to the present day. This is particularly relevant given the aim in Europe for near zero energy buildings (NZEB) in the next five years, aligned to the European Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings.

Prof. Adrian Pitts PhD
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

References:
Passivhaus Institute, PHPP – the Passive House Planning Package version 9, 2015
Janet Cotterell and Adam Dadeby, The Passivhaus handbook: a practical guide to construction and retrofitting buildings for ultra-low energy performance, Green Books 2012

Keywords

  • passive house
  • passivhaus
  • low energy design
  • sustainable buildings
  • high-performance
  • architecture
  • near zero energy buildings

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Passive House and Low Energy Buildings: Barriers and Opportunities for Future Development within UK Practice
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020272 - 15 Feb 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
This paper describes research carried out to understand better the current and future emphases emerging from practice for the design and development of “Passive House” and low energy buildings. The paper initially discusses the extant position, particularly with regards to the UK and [...] Read more.
This paper describes research carried out to understand better the current and future emphases emerging from practice for the design and development of “Passive House” and low energy buildings. The paper initially discusses the extant position, particularly with regards to the UK and considers how regulation and assessment systems have changed in recent years, as well as projecting ideas forward taking account of contemporary political situations. Relevant previous research into Passive House and low energy design and construction is then reviewed. The need for greater understanding of professionals and their communication/collaboration with clients were identified as important factors impacting development. Those involved in the design and construction practice therefore have key roles in the process of enhancing energy efficiency. Five industry/practice based professional organizations were interviewed in-depth to gain insights into their experience of current low energy design, and to extrapolate the outcomes to future scenarios. The method employed used a structured interview technique with key question areas to lead the discussion. The anonymized responses discussed are grouped around key themes. Evidence suggests there has been a move towards the adoption of voluntary high level standards because of potential limitations with mandatory regulations and because of perceived additional benefits of higher quality design. This change is now more than previously, being driven by informed clients, design professionals, and the industry, with regulation taking a secondary role. New opportunities and barriers are becoming evident and these require further consideration. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Macro Micro Studio: A Prototype Energy Autonomous Laboratory
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8060500 - 25 May 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
In 2011, the Departments of Architecture, Physics and Engineering began the development of a small Passivhaus standard, renewable energy self-sufficient studio at the University Botanical Gardens in Dundee. The prototype was conceived as an experimental, integrated technical platform to monitor the performance of [...] Read more.
In 2011, the Departments of Architecture, Physics and Engineering began the development of a small Passivhaus standard, renewable energy self-sufficient studio at the University Botanical Gardens in Dundee. The prototype was conceived as an experimental, integrated technical platform to monitor the performance of an ultra-low-energy consumption, energy positive building in the Scottish climate, and understand user behaviour in relation to managing energy in-use and reducing occupant’s energy consumption. The building fabric has been constructed using regional sustainable materials, including a low-thermal bridging timber kit relying on Scottish small cross-section timber and a novel foam concrete (air entrained) slab foundation. While further work is required to complete the installation of the renewable energy system, predictive modelling indicates that energy autonomy can be largely achieved. With the recent introduction of the new Passivhaus 2009 criteria in October 2015, this project provides an insight into the practical application of an autarkic energy system in a northern European climate. The following paper describes the research rationale, the processes and decision making in the development of the formal and technical design of the building and discusses our current thinking in the design and quantification of the energy system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Scottish Passive House: Insights into Environmental Conditions in Monitored Passive Houses
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050412 - 26 Apr 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Climate change and sustainability legislation in recent years has led to significant changes in construction approaches in the UK housing sector. This has resulted in the adoption of new building typologies, including the German Passivhaus (Passive House) standard. This standard aims to improve [...] Read more.
Climate change and sustainability legislation in recent years has led to significant changes in construction approaches in the UK housing sector. This has resulted in the adoption of new building typologies, including the German Passivhaus (Passive House) standard. This standard aims to improve occupant comfort and energy efficiency, potentially changing the ways in which homes operate and how occupants interact with them. With increasing construction of low energy dwellings, there is an emerging gap in knowledge in relation to occupant health and wellbeing, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality (IAQ). Using data collected from a two year Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) study funded by Innovate UK, the environmental data (temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide concentrations) from five Certified Passive House homes in Scotland was compared. The results demonstrate problems with overheating with peak temperatures exceeding 30 °C. Imbalanced mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems were identified in 80% of the dwellings and inadequate IAQ was found due to poor ventilation. Only one of the Passive Houses studied exhibited thermal conditions and IAQ which were, on the whole within Passive House parameters. This paper outlines the insights and the main issues of Scottish Passive House in the broader context of sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Solar Energy Block-Based Residential Construction for Rural Areas in the West of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040362 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Based on the Great Western Development Strategy and the requirement for sustainable development in the west of China, rural affordable housing, energy conservation, and environmental protection are becoming development standards in the construction field. This paper mainly explores an innovative, sustainable, residential construction [...] Read more.
Based on the Great Western Development Strategy and the requirement for sustainable development in the west of China, rural affordable housing, energy conservation, and environmental protection are becoming development standards in the construction field. This paper mainly explores an innovative, sustainable, residential construction method for rural areas in western China, particularly the integration of solar energy technology with modern prefabricated building techniques, formally named solar energy block-based construction. The conscious approach of using volumetric blocks provides superior adaptability and expansibility in integration with a steel structure, thereby reducing the construction time and cost. Allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout, this approach can be customized to the end-user’s precise location and climate, making rural residential buildings much more flexible and modern. To take advantage of adequate solar energy resource in western China, the blocks are associated with active and passive solar energy technologies, thereby reducing pollution, mitigating global warming, and enhancing sustainability. Therefore, we concluded that solar energy block-based construction could bring significant benefits to the environment, economy, and society. It could also promote sustainable development in the rural regions of western China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Optimum Window to External Wall Ratio for Offices in a Hot and Humid Climate
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020187 - 20 Feb 2016
Cited by 21
Abstract
Heat loss and gain through windows has a very high impact on the thermal comfort of offices. This paper analyzes a standard low energy consumption university office that has a standard envelope. Dynamic thermal simulations with EDSL Tas software, a predicted mean vote [...] Read more.
Heat loss and gain through windows has a very high impact on the thermal comfort of offices. This paper analyzes a standard low energy consumption university office that has a standard envelope. Dynamic thermal simulations with EDSL Tas software, a predicted mean vote (PMV), and a predicted percentage of dissatisfied (PPD) with all local discomfort as stated in ASHRAE, ISO 7730: 2005, EN 15251: 2007 were used for thermal sensation, in order to optimize the best window to external wall proportion in a hot and humid climate that exists in the Famagusta case study. A simulated office building is oriented east to west in order to take advantage of the wind direction. In May 45% (PPD < 6%–0.7% open window), 93% (PPD < 10–0.2 open window), and 97% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the window to external wall ratio (WWR) is 10%. In October 43% (PPD < 6%–0.7% open window), 86% (PPD < 10–0.2 open window), and 92% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the WWR is 10%. In September 49% (PPD < 10% full open window) and 51% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the WWR is 10%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Present and Future Energy Performance of the First Passivhaus Project in the Gulf Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020139 - 02 Feb 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
With voluntary and mandatory energy performance standards now becoming more common around the world, schemes to develop low energy buildings have become more apparent in developed countries. The Passivhaus standard, established 25 years ago in Germany, is one the most stringent and promising [...] Read more.
With voluntary and mandatory energy performance standards now becoming more common around the world, schemes to develop low energy buildings have become more apparent in developed countries. The Passivhaus standard, established 25 years ago in Germany, is one the most stringent and promising low energy building standards in Europe. It started as a construction concept applied to residential buildings, but has since spread as a voluntary ultra-low energy efficient standard to different parts of the world. Qatar, a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, announced in 2013 the completion of the first Passivhaus project in the Gulf Region. The current and future performance of the Passivhaus project in Qatar was investigated in this study using current and future climate scenarios. Computer modelling was used to simulate the energy performance of the house and the thermal comfort of the occupants. In addition, on-site measurements were made to corroborate the modelling outcomes. Further, the impacts of climate change on the Passivhaus project was examined, and comparative analyses were undertaken. The findings suggested that the Passivhaus performs well under the current and the future weather data sets. Furthermore, the modelling indicates that the Qatar house is close to achieving the Passivhaus standard. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Building Fabric Thermal Performance of Passivhaus Dwellings—Does It Do What It Says on the Tin?
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010097 - 20 Jan 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
The Passivhaus (or Passive House) Standard is one of the world’s most widely known voluntary energy performance standards. For a dwelling to achieve the Standard and be granted Certification, the building fabric requires careful design and detailing, high levels of thermal insulation, building [...] Read more.
The Passivhaus (or Passive House) Standard is one of the world’s most widely known voluntary energy performance standards. For a dwelling to achieve the Standard and be granted Certification, the building fabric requires careful design and detailing, high levels of thermal insulation, building airtightness, close site supervision and careful workmanship. However, achieving Passivhaus Certification is not a guarantee that the thermal performance of the building fabric as designed will actually be achieved in situ. This paper presents the results obtained from measuring the in situ whole building heat loss coefficient (HLC) of a small number of Certified Passivhaus case study dwellings. They are located on different sites and constructed using different technologies in the UK. Despite the small and non-random nature of the dwelling sample, the results obtained from the in situ measurements revealed that the thermal performance of the building fabric, for all of the dwellings, performed very close to the design predictions. This suggests that in terms of the thermal performance of the building fabric, Passivhaus does exactly what it says on the tin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Simplified Methodology for Evaluating the Impact of Point Thermal Bridges on the High-Energy Performance of a Passive House
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16687-16702; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71215840 - 17 Dec 2015
Cited by 15
Abstract
In the design of high-energy performance buildings with ventilated facade systems, the evaluation of point thermal bridges is complicated and is often ignored in practice. This paper analyzes the relationship between the point thermal bridges resulting from aluminum fasteners, which are used for [...] Read more.
In the design of high-energy performance buildings with ventilated facade systems, the evaluation of point thermal bridges is complicated and is often ignored in practice. This paper analyzes the relationship between the point thermal bridges resulting from aluminum fasteners, which are used for installation facades cladding, and the thermal properties of materials that are used in external walls layers and dimension of layers. Research has shown that the influence of the point thermal bridges on the U-value of the entire wall may achieve an average of up to 30% regarding thermal properties of materials of the external wall layers and the dimension of layers. With the increase in thermal conductivity of the bearing layer material and the thickness of the thermal insulation layer, the point thermal transmittance χ-value increased. For this reason, the U-value of the entire wall may increase by up to 35%. With the increase of the thickness of the bearing layer and thermal conductivity value of thermal insulation layer, the point thermal transmittance χ-value decreased by up to 28%. A simplified methodology is presented for the evaluation of point thermal bridges based on the thermal and geometrical properties of external wall layers. Full article
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