all articles 26. June 2019

The passive house as the standard for our sustainability concept.

Reaching a high standard of sustainability is the top priority for all our property developments.

This can’t be done with one size fits all solutions. Every place, every site, is different due to its position, its surroundings and the local architecture, and therefore demands an individual sustainability concept.

Despite the necessity of such an individual approach to each project, offering a standard by which each of our projects can be measured against is a minimum requirement for us, and our solution is the passive house standard.

What is a passive house?

In simple terms a passive house is a building with very low energy requirements, which it  independently generates without relying on an external energy provider. In addition to providing its own energy, we believe self-sufficiency in respect of the water supply is highly desirable.

When it comes to the details there are  various definitions. Some say a passive house should use 90% less than a standard building, while others would argue that it should use and preserve energy (heat) in the building as well as solar gain entering the building.

Regardless of which definition is used, our intention is always to incorporate passive house standards in our projects. Now more than ever, as climate change is changing the world, such standards should be a must for all property developments.

However, we do not believe in simple labels to define sustainability. In our opinion it is important to examine every aspect of a project and consider its actual sustainability credentials, so that we end up with a clear, coherent and deliverable sustainability strategy for each project. 

Concrete measures to achieve sustainable property developments.

For our projects this means:

  • that we do not use fossil fuels
  • that the building is designed and configured to use the minimum amount of energy possible
  • that through the use of solar and photovoltaic energy as much energy as possible is generated by the building or on the immediate site
  • that we use a battery as a backup energy source
  • that natural ventilation forms part of the cooling system
  • that we install a generously sized water tank
  • that the building is very well insulated
  • that we only use high quality and environmentally sustainable materials

Sustainability takes precedence over self-sufficiency

As far as priorities go, we clearly place sustainability first and self-sufficiency second.

To build a completely self-sufficient passive house is sometimes only possible by accepting reduced levels of sustainability, for example by using insulation materials which damage the environment – even if only when they need to be disposed of or recycled at a later date.

For this reason labels such as “100% passive house” are, in our opinion, not always a reliable indicator of a considered and consistent approach to sustainability. 

The best results are achieved by meticulous consideration of all the facts, possible options and ways of achieving the goal of sustainable living, from the foundations to the future performance of the building.

When it comes to sustainability, we are not ashamed to be nerds. 

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