Passive House Window Talks 2015

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Last week Enrico took part in the 2015 Passive House Window Talks in Nova Lehota, Slovakia, a two-day event on the benefits of high-performance Passivhaus windows. It was organized by ProPassivhausFenster, a group of small European window manufacturers well known for their award-winning Smartwin windows, but it was far from the usual company-sponsored workshops designed to sell product. Architects and engineers gathered together to discuss and learn more about the technical specifications and the fundamental need for high-quality windows in everyday design.  

The first day was dedicated to excursions to several Slovakian passive houses near Bratislava. One particular house, was so efficient that even in late February / early March, the heating system had not yet been turned on at all. They also saw a Passive House designed by Bjorn Kierulf of CreaTerra (see images in foto gallery below).

The second day was packed with seminars on the high-performance window, the cornerstone of a Passive House, and a component that - if designed well - can not only prevent heat losses, but can also become a solar energy collector, providing the house with much more energy than it loses. Not to mention the health and comfort benefits, allowing the occupants to live in an indoor environment with a consistent temperature.

Franz Freundorfer of ProPassivhausFenster presented about the basic principles that guarantee the thermal quality of the window, which we will expand on in future articles. Franz also showed a case study using DesignPH, a SketchUp plug-in that allows you to model a passive building in 3D and to export the data into PHPP (the calculation software for determining the energy balance of a Passive House).

Benjamin Krick, of the Passivhaus Institut, presented a preview of PHPP Version 9, that is going to be officially presented at the International Passive House Conference in Leipzig, next April. With this new version of the software, the whole concept of primary energy has been reinvented, introducing primary energy from renewable sources. This is also the starting point of the new passive house classes of the Passivhaus certification.

Our very own Enrico Bonilauri also presented, explaining how to correctly insert data into PHPP, as well as the basics of thermal bridge calculation with finite element softwares.

Many important topics were discussed during the event, so we're going to publish specific articles with more detail about them over the next few weeks.

Mariana Pickering

Emu Systems, 6145 Broadway, Denver, CO, 80216