Energy-efficient
construction

How to build a passive house?

The construction of passive houses in Ukraine is actively gaining momentum every year. The solid reason for this is not only the increase in tariffs, but also contributing to the environmental friendliness of the surrounding world, saving consumption of natural resources and emissions of factory waste into the atmosphere.

A warm house sells well in the secondary market and has a higher demand and price than a concrete, cold boxes. DANICA Construction Company is a leader in design and construction of turnkey passive houses in Ukraine.

Director of construction company DANICA Andrey Bukin shared his expert opinion on the monolithic technology of building energy efficient houses using permanent formwork Passive House Block.

Can rodents chew through insulation?

Do rodents live in walls and insulation?

Definitely they can live in any insulation and in any house. If you have some kind of structural material that is easy to chew rodents will get there, in order to avoid this happening for mineral wool, foam plastic for neopore use reinforcing mesh. If you were able to cut off the rodent's entrance into the insulation zone, then it will not get there.

It is a matter of builders competence and elementary compliance with knots, you need at least 1.5 meters from the floor reinforce and with glue mesh caulk or use a hard facade to prevent entry there rodents.

Is the neopor on fire?

Neopor is a self-extinguishing material, it has certification and has passed all fire tests, especially since it is a global brand. It extinguishes in the absence of a fire source, which means that if we pour gasoline on the wall of a passive house made of neopor and wait, while the gasoline burns it will melt and at the same time burn, when the gasoline burns out it goes out. We tested this at sites and with clients and with a blowtorch, what we did not scorch it, it fades.

How many stories can I build with a Passive House block?

Passive House block is a small panelized permanent formwork and in different countries regulates the height of construction in Europe up to 9 floors in Russia 7, in Ukraine up to 5 floors.

What is the difference between blocks on the thickness of the insulation 10, 20 or 30 cm?

The thickness of the insulation of a passive house allows you to make different thermal resistance of the wall. The thicker the insulation, the more expensive the wall and the warmer the wall of an energy efficient house. If we are talking about the standards in Ukraine the thermal resistance of the wall should be R 3.3.

In our maximum design Neopor 30 cm and we have the thermal resistance of the wall taking into account the plaster and 15 cm of concrete, the R of the wall turns out 9.68. This means that we are approximately 3 times higher than the requirements of our DBN, but is it economically justified? We have built 2 objects with 20cm of insulation, economically sound insulation at 25 cm is clearly, between 25 cm and 30 cm we counted in the area of 3 years payback is besides the capital cost of building a house, what does it mean? Let's say we build 2 absolutely identical energy efficient houses, one we build with 10cm insulation the second house we build with 30cm insulation. 2 different scheme themes and corresponding characteristics on the consumption of the 2 houses, also we got 2 different estimates. 

House on 200 sq/m with 20 cm insulation and the same house with 30 cm of insulation to the cost of the work it does not affect, the difference will be well, about a couple of thousand dollars. We received $ 2000 difference after which, as many customers have counted the foundation, walls, repairs then counted equipment and you need to approach this correctly and consider the entire house in its entirety. And if you design a house and count the estimate for the entry into the house, then you get 2 different capacities of equipment that should cool the house and heat let's say it will be a heat pump.

We will get 2 heat pumps. On an energy-saving house with 10 cm insulation, we get a heat pump 15kv, for an energy-efficient house with 30 cm insulation, we get a heat pump 5kv is where the real calculations we have already carried out. So the difference between the heat pump 15kv and 5kv it will be more than $ 2000 difference in the cost of insulation. So if you think ahead you capital cost of building an energy efficient house before you move in will be less where there is more insulation where you have a remote mounting window. You spend on engineering, such a paradox, so when we are asked what insulation to choose we say the maximum is 30cm. Justified economically it is 25cm.

Passive House block

Are there any certificates for the products?

There are environmental and safety certificates and if we are talking about insulation, it is produced by Austria and they also have all the relevant documents. The insulation of the passive house is outside the building and has the same environmental certificates as comparable to the certificates of the finishing materials inside the building. This insulation is approved all over the world to insulate hospitals, kindergartens, schools .....

How much concrete should I pour into the Passive House block formwork for a passive house?

In our load-bearing wall of an energy-saving house you can adjust the thickness of the concrete core from 10 cm to 45 cm. It is regulated by the designer and the strength depends on the degree of reinforcement, we use 15 cm concrete core in the vast majority of projects and it is enough for us by design, we do not want to do too thick wall because we do not want to use the space the thicker our wall the more we eat the development area of this wall and if the strength of 15 cm wall is enough, but sometimes we use thick slabs and they need 20 cm wall.

Ventilation

Do I have to do forced ventilation in my home?

There is such a term as breathable walls, there is a term of vapor permeability and water tightness and these are absolutely different concepts. And if we are talking about whether ventilation is necessary, it is primarily human health.

A healthy person needs 30 cubic meters of fresh air per hour, for us to get that amount of air and it cannot be obtained through breathing walls when you have air leaking through the cracks the building will incur insane energy losses and for this ventilation is needed and to ensure the level of CO2 in the room. If we are talking about analogous ventilation with open windows, it is impossible to gauge on your senses when the right comfort temperature is reached, especially in the winter. 

If we use ventilation with recuperation we get fresh air just cheaper, but ventilation is necessary to provide the right balance of CO2 indoors in an energy-efficient house and if we don't do it, we use systems with automatic window opening, but they cost more.  Ventilation is your health, if you don't have ventilation it will be stuffy indoors and if you put the numbers up to 890 we are ok with CO2. For example, in schools we reach 3500 CO2 in public institutions 2000 quietly.

What is the expiration date on the Passive House block?

Concrete gains strength for the first 50 years. Thermal insulation is certified for thermal and technical properties for 58 years. With us, nothing can happen to the house for the first 50 years.

Timeframe for construction with Passive House block?

Warm house grows about 30 cm a day and it allows you to kick out the floor in 10 days.  Of course there are technological breaks, such as 2-storey passive house normal term is 3 months which is already with insulation and a roof.

Why is the block price so high and how does it add up?

The cost of materials is higher than the cost of traditional building materials. But the materials that we use for warm houses are of the highest quality. Due to the fact that the block has a 3-in1 insulation, plastering part and load-bearing wall we get significant savings in the production of construction services.

If we compare the house of gas block masonry itself is relatively inexpensive gas block itself. But if we try to bring to the same denominator the cost of the walls of ready-made turnkey home and if we compare the cost of the entire structure, the house will not be more expensive and will be approximately comparable to the cost of aerated concrete. And if we compare the house of gas block with the characteristics of the house of Passive House block, the house of gas block will be even more expensive, brick and ceramic block will definitely be more expensive.

For 2 m walls we get the cost cheaper, but if you take the whole box of Passive House block and a box of brick then Passive House block will definitely be cheaper.  Those indicators that we have achieved this tightness, thermal resistance of the wall and comfort cannot be repeated from the brick.

Passive House block

Can I build my own house from Passive House blocks if I have experience with aerated concrete or bricks?

Even if you don't have that experience, you can build a passive house! We try to supervise the installation for free. When they buy blocks from us and build, we come and check that no one mixed up and supervise the laying of the first row and the other stages we can come and supervise.

There are customers to whom we come and they themselves kick out 3 rows and say yes we have already figured out there is nothing to do, everything is so simple that if you have some basic understanding of the construction, it is enough. Especially since there are videos on YouTube channel DANICA

Monolithic construction

Are there differences in the design of Passive House block homes as opposed to brick or gas block homes?

The Passive House block is easier to design because all structural elements such as lintels, reinforcements are implemented with additional reinforcement, and that's it. If the house has already been designed for another material, the load-bearing wall is probably 37 cm and a foundation of say 40 cm is designed for it, if it is a strip foundation.

Our wall needs a foundation of 25 cm, 40 cm is also enough if the project is already there, but it is more economical to make the wall thinner. And our 15 cm wall is easy to pour on the foundation and fits into any existing house project. 

In addition with the Passive House block we save on the size of the house, for example if the house was designed with gas concrete of 200 m2 from the Passive House block we get 230 m2, the same house with the same footprint.

How do I become a Passive House block representative in another city or country?

We are open, there are contacts on the DANICA website, what matters is the competence of the builder you have to know what you are doing.