Interested in learning how to start planning your own passive house

You might want to attend the upcoming One Day Passive House Introductory course hosted by Passive Development Ltd. The course is on Saturday 15th October in Rathangan, Co. Kildare

Peter Lohr is the architect who designed our house and is a director of Passive Development. Peter is also a Certified European Passive House Designer.

€100 is money well spent if you wish to learn more about building a passive house.

Further details at

Running a home office in a Passive House.

I work for an US IT company and am fortunate to be able to work from home. At the moment I work from home for 4 days each week. Back in early March when I started home working before the family moved it I noticed that the office temperature might be 16-17 degrees at 8am. This is too cool for sitting at a PC so some heat would be required to bring the root up to an acceptable office room temp. I found that once I switched on the lighting and powered up my equipment that after approx 1 - 1.5  hour the room would be a a very comfortable 20-21 degrees. My own body heat was also acting as a heat source.

I deliberately positioned my office as a north facing room to avoid overheating. This has worked very well the only disadvantage is I dont get as much sunlight. If the room gets too hot during the day I simply open the window for a half hour of so. I have installed a seperate UFH electric circuit and thermostat in my office so I can control the temp during winter if needed.

Overall I am very happy with my home office. In my previous house I always struggled maintaining a nice temperature in the offic as I would find I would need to switch on the central heating to drive a radiator in the office which would then increase the temperature too much. This meant I would then be subjected to a cold breeze when I needed to open a window to try to keep the temperature down.

Moving into a new house with no heating!

We moved into our new house on 19th March 2011. I had been using my home office for 2-3 weeks prior to this and based on this I felt that we might not need any heating. On the day before we moved it I switched off all 5 of our underfloor heating circuits, these have remained off since then.

Our Solar system is providing all of our hot water via 5.2m2 of Sunking Evacuated Tubes with a 400Ltr Solar Tank.

The only heat sources in the house are
1. Occupants - 2 adults and 2 kids
2. Appliances
3. Passive Solar heating through the Triple Glazed windows
4. Heat released from our 400ltr Solar Tank.

Our REC Temovex 400S-EC air handling unit is performing the vital function of providing fresh air but in doing so it also performs heat recovery so that the warm "dirty" air being extracted from inside the house is being use to pre-heat the fresh air being drawn in. This helps maintain the house at a comfortable temperature.

Does it get too hot or too cold living in a Passive House?

Since moving into the house back in March the internal temperature measured in our hall way running through the center of the house has consistently remained between 21 and 23 degrees. Here is a picture of our simple hall termostat showing current and min/max temp. This was for at least a 6 week period.

We have found that the roof over-hang is vital in preventing over-heating in our south facing living areas during the all too rare hot sunny days. The overhang  provides shading when the sun is at its highest point during summer. In autumn/spring and winter when the sun sits lower all of the sun is needed for solar heating.

Our REC-Temovex Air handing unit has a bypass facility to disable Heat recovery. This is necessary during very hot spells when there is no requirement for it. We find that on some evenings during warm weather it is good to open our utility room window as this is the hottest room in the house. This allows a lot of the heat to escape quickly.

I took some pictures of the Temperatures displayed on our Temovex today. The first picture shows the temperature of the fresh air in the supply air duct (15 degrees). Fresh air is drawn into the house via a vent on the west gable.
The second picture shows the supply air temperature being pumped into the house after it has passed through the heat exchanger. Here it shows 21 Degrees.
This shows the effect of Heat Recovery which is topping up the supply air temperature by 6 degrees. The internal temperature inside the house at this time is 22 degrees as shown above.