Passive houses

The passive house is essentially a hermetically sealed wooden frame house, where a comfortable indoor climate can be maintained without an active heating or cooling system.
The main indicators determining the ownership of carcass homes for passive houses are:

sufficient insulation
without thermal bridges
three glass windows – with increased solar transmittance,
the correct location of the building – to the north and south so that the sunlight is provided in the logos,
ventilation with a recuperation system – with heat recovery, with an air treatment system that facilitates fresh air intake in the room, while purifying the air.
Wooden frames for passive house construction use materials with elevated thermal properties of building envelope structures, with higher values than those specified in building codes. The building envelope with high thermal insulation coefficient is used. In order to provide the necessary airproofing of the building, special sealing materials (adhesive tapes and polyurethane seals) are used to seal all construction joints and joints, as well as communication openings in the outer envelope structures. In the construction of the building’s outer walls, timber is used that provides high heat resistance and increases the heat inertia of the building element, which is a particularly suitable condition for changing weather conditions in Latvia – both in winter and in summer.

In spite of the name, the passive houses themselves are active on their own, actively maintaining a proper amount of heat and providing a comfortable and economical living environment. A passive house is not only a name, but a concept of design that everyone has access to and use.


When talking about wooden frame houses, the construction of private houses, the construction of panels and modular houses, the term “passive” house is often referred to. Let’s explain here what it is and what it involves. By definition, “passive house” is:

a house where a comfortable indoor climate can be maintained without an active heating or cooling system.

sufficient insulation
completely hermetic – not the slightest gap through which the warm air escapes,
without thermal bridges (structural constructions, which are supplied with warm air);
three glass windows – qualitatively, helps to warm the house in winter,
the correct location of the building – through the big windows in the winter and during the cooler months of the year will be warmed up, but in the summer under the special overhang of windows a shadow will form, preventing the house from getting warm,
ventilation with a recovery system – with heat recovery (air treatment system, which facilitates fresh air intake into the room, cleaning the air).
A passive house is described in plain view in here:

The passive house is “heated” with solar energy, the heat generated by household appliances, the heat generated by living houses, or passive energy. The better the house’s thermal insulation and leakage, the closer it gets to the passive house – it does not freeze quickly, except in winter months it needs to be slightly molded using an oven or small heat sources. In addition, if the passive house is equipped with solar cells, it becomes a zero-energy home.

Passive building standard

The standard of passive buildings is based on the result of a pilot study, seeking to find a balance point for European scientists, below which a thicker layer of thermal insulation offered a tangible investment return, and above which no more thermal insulation would yield any economic benefits. This financial equilibrium point is at the heart of the passive building standard.

Here are passive building benchmarks:

heat load ≤ 10 W / m2 or annual thermal energy consumption ≤ 15 kWh / m2,
annual primary energy consumption ≤ 120 kWh / m2,
value of thermal bridges ≤ 0,0,
air tightness ≤ 0.6 / h at 50Pa pressure difference.
Wooden foyer passive house
In the construction of passive houses, attention is paid to the thermal properties of building envelope structures, with installation of higher values than those specified in building codes. To achieve this, building envelope with a high thermal insulation coefficient is used. In order to provide the required airproofing of the building, special sealing materials (adhesive tapes and polyurethane seals) are used to seal all construction joints and joints, as well as communication openings in the outer enclosures.

The building’s outer walls consist of wooden building materials – eco-wool and hardboard, provide high heat resistance and significantly increase the heat-inertia of the building element, which is suitable for changing weather conditions in Latvia both in winter and summer. Elevated building element heating works as an additional heat builder, ensuring the absorption of fluctuations in the temperature overnight, thereby reducing the heat flow through the interior walls through hot summer days. The outer wall design is made of wood beam beams, packed with electrical insulation (density 55-60kg / m3), exterior wall insulation with ecological hardboard, providing high heat resistance. Wall panels are constructed so that thermal bridges are not formed anywhere, but the assembly technology allows for high-quality design with excellent ductile joints.

Roofs are made of industrial – bearing roof construction bricks with a 2 degree roof slope and are filled with an electric insulation of 80 cm thickness so that the landing thickness is not less than 60 cm. The rainwater drainage system is integrated into the roof structure, making the roof structure suitable for Latvian weather conditions.

With regard to the use of windows in passive homes, solar storage is essential in this respect, so windows with a three-pane window and increased solar transmittance are used. It is important to maximize the thermal bridging effect of the windows when installing the windows.

The floor for passive houses is made of wooden panels, where the structure consists of bearing joists (35 mm), filled with a thermal insulation layer (35 mm), and coated with plate materials on both sides.

Ventilation with heat recovery
The air treatment unit is recovered by heat and acts as a home lung. As it is being monitored for homes to meet energy efficiency, they are provided with high-quality thermal insulation. This will reduce air permeability and increase the risk of deterioration of air quality in the premises and increase the moisture content. Air humidity due to airborne flux can have a negative effect on the health of both the enclosing structure and the occupants of the home. Therefore, to avoid t.s. “Sick domestic syndrome” and, at the same time, maintaining a homogeneous heat in the home, an air treatment plant with heat recovery has been created.
For “home lungs” this is called because of the fact that the device provides an effective fresh air exchange in the premises, while maintaining the level of comfort required for the occupants. In winter, outdoor air is heated by means of internal air, in addition to the filter, the incoming air is filtered out of dust, debris and allergens (eg pollen).

What is Heat Recovery?
It is heat recovery, heat re-use or heat exchange process, in which the heat from the outlet air is removed and transferred to incoming fresh air.

The opposite is being implemented in the cooling variant.

All this is done with special hoods and conditioners, which include recuperation heat exchangers. During the process, the incoming and outgoing air is separated, there is no way for them to mix.

Despite the need for initial investment, the installation of the recuperators is repaid very quickly based on the heat consumption.

Myths about passive houses
In order to build a completely 100% passive house, the quality of construction work must be strictly adhered to, as the building should not have thermal bridges.

In our climatic conditions, where the multilayer construction of walls in the walls of the outer walls is formed, it is not easy to achieve complete airtightness of the house, therefore it is ironic that there is a need for a very precise homeowner to comply with all requirements for passive house operation.

The main myths about the construction of passive houses:

“Too expensive to build” – a misconception, because it is necessary to calculate the costs incurred during operation.

As soon as this is done, the passive house becomes the most economically advantageous type of construction. Of course, in house construction, it is necessary to invest more than building standards, but only 10%; on the other hand, after the completion of passive buildings, about 90% less heat is needed. This leads to the fact that the deductible of the cost of municipal construction annually for municipal expenditures, passive domestic residents are the beneficiaries.
“Nothing to breathe” – the tightness of passive houses creates a picture of the house as a vacuum space. Passive houses are 10x denser than typical new buildings.

But, unlike typical newbuildings, the passive house boasts of high-efficiency ventilation with heat recovery, which continuously exchanges coarse indoor air against fresh outdoor air. It should be noted that because of the good thermal insulation of passive buildings, homes can be kept open for longer than in typical new buildings.

“The walls are too thick” – yes, the walls are thicker than the typical new buildings, thicker than 30cm, depending on the climate.

At the same time, it should be mentioned that during the cold winter period there is no discomfort or a feeling of coldness to populate the space near the window, as the entire building provides even thermal comfort.

Thus, it can be said that the loss of a few centimeters due to insulation increases the comfort of living space.

“Exotic products”

– they could hardly be called exotic, but more energy efficient. Certified windows and components specially designed for passive houses provide excellent home tightness.
“Too complicated” – there are architects and consultants available, who will simply explain the complexities and implement the correct calculations, do not have to do anything themselves, but in reality everything is complicated in simple terms; see. above – Passive building standard.
“Too standardized and strictly” – this is also a myth. There are several approaches to building a passive house. An internet platform “Passipedia” has been created, in which various types of experimentally passive building are collected. There are also various ways to certify a building through the initial Institute of Passive Physics (PHI) in Germany, through the Canadel Institute of Passive Buildings (CanPHI), or through a growing number of certification bodies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. An international platform has also been set up:, where, along with the latest developments in this industry, you can find out specific accredited building certifications from each region.
“Too ugly” – design options are unlimited, in recent years, so many residential buildings, office buildings, public buildings have been built. Look here: Passive House Database, how many different architectural solutions hide the term “passive house”.
“Too young, unreliable project” – the truth is quite different. The first real passive building was erected in Germany in 1991, although ideas about this type of building started already in 1977 (Saskatchewan Protected House). As the test and development of the passive building standard has been an excellent test for at least 27 years.
“Too long for a return on investment” – 90% energy savings amount to one thousand euros and more per annum, with savings beginning already in the first year of operation and will continue to rise with rising energy prices.
“Zero energy” buildings are better. Yes, it will be true, of course, that 0% consumption is better than 90% savings, but investing 10% in the remaining 10% in construction will lead to a doubling of construction costs.

Passive house in Latvia
The beginning of the passive house in Latvia is associated with the launch of the project “Intelligent Energy for Europe” in 2012 – Passive Houses and Renewable Energy Regions (shortcut – PassREg). When analyzing real construction and reconstruction projects, the principles of passive houses were used in construction, and the maximum use of renewable energy resources was introduced, directly within the project. The principle of passive buildings and the use of renewable energy for energy purposes is to promote t.s. construction of zero energy buildings in Latvia.
At the moment, there is a website LABOR HOUSE in Latvia where you can see the list of houses in Latvia, various issues, and a list of certified designers, consultants and craftsmen in Latvia that will help you to get to your passive home.

As a result of targeted policies, legislation, legislation, and aid, passive home standards are achieved in several cities in Germany, Denmark and Austria, thus proving with numbers that the construction of such types of houses is beneficial, generating significant savings for local governments, easing the budget burden and reducing currently so actual – the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

The passive house is voluntary, a standard for the energy efficiency of buildings, with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint, environmental impact. The result is an ultra-low-energy building with a significant amount of energy for heating or cooling.
In spite of the name, the passive houses themselves are active in themselves, actively maintaining an adequate amount of heat and providing a comfortable and economical living environment. A passive house is not only a name, but a concept of design that everyone has access to and use.

Passive House Institute, according to researches and an experience in the building field, is processed a standard of the Passive House, by which it is possible to guide in every part of the world, in every climatic condition and which is suitable for every type of the building. For more information take a look here.

To get a special passive house certificate, the house is evaluated by different criterions: heating of the space, cooling, primary energy source, impermeability of the air and thermal comfort.

An example of the fact that the traditional “modest” modular house interior can be cozy and bright, which in fact is ideal for designer creative thinking.