Why incorporate Passive design principals into an Australian home?

Mar 6, 2015 | News

Why would a design that is relevant in Europe be relevant in Australia?

This is a very valid question and one so many people have.

Being a volunteer of the Australian Passive House Association the biggest obstacle for us is convincing people that passive design is suitable for the Australian climate not just for cold European climates.

Passivhaus, as it is known in Germany, is where the design was created and first applied to homes in 1990 with the sole purpose to keep the outside out and the inside in. This makes it possible to maintain a moderate temperature inside the home with little or no mechanical heating or cooling. A Passive home is able to store heat in a home generated by its occupants, energy appliances and the use of the sun. All the while limiting this in summer.

So this leaves the question, why we wouldn’t want to keep the cold Melbourne winter air out and prevent that baking summer sun from penetrating inside at the peak of summer. In turn making our home far more comfortable to live in and far more energy efficient, which saves us money and reduces unnecessary greenhouse gases.

An argument people often come up with is that it doesn’t work in Australia as we have a far milder temperature. It is true our temperatures are far more mild than Europe, although let it be known that Melbourne has more cold days per annum than warm.

Passive solar design has an array of benefits in both hot and cold climates. Its ability to use solar energy to heat a home during winter and expel heat from the sun in summer is going to benefit the homes occupants.

A solar passive design home is all about working with the environment not against it. The quality of a Passive home far exceeds the quality of home we see being built in Australia today. We now have four accredited Passive design homes in Australia and I can’t wait to see more.

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