Passive buildings use only 20% of the energy for heating or cooling, leading to minimal carbon dioxide emissions.
The world is transforming, and with it comes the need for sustainable solutions. According to Project Drawdown, the built environment sector accounts for roughly 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. Passive buildings are fast becoming a solution to improving energy efficiency while still prioritizing indoor air quality. These buildings minimize thermal-energy losses with the aid of high-performing insulation, 3-pane windows, and advanced airtightness techniques. The Passive House Institute in Germany verifies the buildings' performance using internationally recognized, performance-based energy standards.
This snippet dives into the problem, solution, impact, and examples of passive buildings. Additionally, it will provide a one-minute call to action.
Passive buildings are designed to minimize energy losses by using natural heat sources like the sun to regulate indoor temperature. In addition, passive buildings use sustainable materials that are locally sourced, and designers' preference for natural sunlight. Buildings designed this way use up to 80% less energy, which is a significant reduction compared to conventional buildings.
Over the years, the growing demand for energy use has caused an excessive level of carbon dioxide emission contributing to climate change. Also, conventional buildings account for a significant part of energy consumed globally, leading to high greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional buildings also pose a risk to occupants' health due to low indoor air quality.
A passive building designed to minimize energy loss by creating an airtight space that reduces the amount of heat leaving the building. The building incorporates high-performing insulation, 3-pane windows, and advanced airtightness techniques. Passive buildings use only 20% of the energy for heating or cooling, leading to minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Besides, the buildings prioritize indoor air quality, using sophisticated energy-recovery ventilators in the most advanced passive buildings.
Passive buildings provide long-term cost savings on energy usage, creating a comfortable indoor environment and year-round energy savings. Additionally, they reduce greenhouse gases from the energy supply industry, which, in turn, contributes to curbing climate change. Passive building protocols also help to improve indoor air quality, which has a positive impact on health and even emotional well-being.
According to Canary Media, last week a Boston skyscraper, the Winthrop Center, was named the world’s largest passive house office. Comparable buildings in Boston consume 150% more energy than Winthrop Center’s office space, according to the developer Millennium Partners.
Another example is Chestnut Commons, a new 275-unit apartment building in New York City, whose energy costs are expected to be 70 percent lower than in typical constructions.
For new construction, people should consider designing passive houses that prioritize energy efficiency and air quality. For existing buildings, home and business owners should take the necessary steps to initiate energy-efficient retrofits. Governments should also support builders and homeowners by enacting new regulations and providing incentives to construct more passive houses.
Passive buildings offer a sustainable solution to the increasing demand for energy efficiency while offering a comfortable indoor environment. These buildings have a huge impact on curbing climate change, improving indoor air quality, as seen through various examples worldwide. The adoption of energy-efficient lifestyles and passive builds marks a significant phase in creating a more sustainable future.
This snippet was inspired by this Canary Media article.
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