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Triple Glazing for Passive House

12 Feb 2013

Passive houses are ultra-low energy buildings, designed and built with a low or even negligible ecological footprint. The movement started in Germany in the late 80s and there are now about 25,000 to 30,000 passive houses all over the world. Paarhammer Windows was part of one of Australia’s first ones built recently at Castlemaine, Victoria.

One of the requirements of the passive house standard is very little energy consumption (less than 120kWh/m2 per year overall) and very low air-infiltration. “Paarhammer triple glazed windows with two airgaps of 12mm each fit the bill perfectly,” explains the ownerbuilder Karl Albrecht, “they reduce heat loss (or gain) by up to 78% with an air infiltration of a low 0.05, making them extremely energy efficient.” 

Passive houses are often pressure tested to a negative pressure of 50 Pascal. An air tightness (also called air leakage) test is a test to determine the level of uncontrolled airflow through gaps or cracks in the fabric of a building. Too much air leakage leads to unnecessary heat loss or gain and discomfort through drafts. Here again an extremely low air-infiltration of windows and doors is a must. Paarhammer products use a multipoint locking system for windows and doors which also is almost airtight and increases the safety aspect as well. Low air exchange also means higher energy efficiency and much lower energy bills.

The windows and doors for this project are made from timber which in itself is a very bad conductor, meaning that the temperature on the outside will not be transferred to the inside and visa versa. 

Timber is also the perfect sustainable solution: it’s a renewable resource, it stores carbon and some timbers are even bushfire safe up to BAL-29 or higher if tested, e.g. Paarhammer have developed, tested and got approved Flame Zone BAL-FZ windows and doors made in timber.

The passive house was designed by Danilo Paglialonga together with owner Karl to provide an affordable home able to meet the environmental challenges of a changing climate at minimal cost to the planet. To achieve this, the following strategies were included: low embodied energy, renewable resources, recyclability, minimal waste, and minimal need for ongoing heating and cooling.

Mr Albrecht is very passionate about sustainability and energy efficiency. He says: “The key to energy saving is best achieved by reducing the size of buildings and then building the best envelope possible as this will make a house sustainable and affordable. Our house/family uses 80% less energy measured against an equivalently sized 5-star home and the quality of the Paarhammer doors and windows are a key component in helping us to do so.”

Energy efficiency is one of the first ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce heating, cooling and lighting bills and to improve comfort inside buildings for occupants. Governments in many countries including Australia are developing new building standards to slash and eventually eliminate emissions from buildings altogether, within 15 years or less. High-performance windows like Paarhammer are an essential part of this strategy in all climates.    03 5368 1999