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Building Site

Optimum site offers for a possibility to utilize passive solar energy efficiently, however, Passive House design emphasizes technologies that do not depend on solar irradiation.

The way in which a building is sited will have a major effect on its energy efficiency. Orientation plays an important role in optimizing both the heating demand in winter and cooling demand in summer. Optimisation of the design with regard to solar access and protection against cold winds helps to reduce heating load. Passive houses may also require solar protection to reduce the cooling load in summer.

In order to minimise loads on heating or cooling systems in buildings, and to increase the comfort of people both indoors and outdoors, the general design guidelines are

  • A low and sunny southern slope where the temperature balance can become positive on sunny winter days, enabling integration of solar energy systems into the development.
  • The site allows for good orientation of buildings; style, orientation and pitch of roofs for solar energy collection, optimised distances of buildings, position of broad-leaved trees and planting to reduce over-heating in summer.
  • The site locates up from valleys that can gather cold air during nights thus decreasing the mean temperature.

However, a Passive House design emphasizes technologies that do not depend on solar irradiation, such as high level of thermal insulation, excellent airtightness, high quality windows and doors, and heat recovery from ventilation air. Although an optimum is to orientate the house towards south, experiences have shown that Passive Houses perform satisfactorily also on sites facing North.