Energy-efficientcost-effective and maximum comfort: this is the future of construction and retrofitting. The Passive House Institute (PHI), based in Darmstadt, Germany, ” is an independent research institute that has played an especially crucial role in the development of the Passive House concept – the only internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard in construction.”  I am becoming more and more interested in energy-efficient buildings, or as the new European Directive 2010/31/EU calls them “nearly zero-energy” buildings. It means a building that has a very high energy performance and that the nearly-zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby. These criteria should apply even for existing buildings and the “Member Staets shall take the necessary measures to ensure that when buildings undergo major renovation, the energy performance of the building or the renovated part thereof is upgraded in order to meet minimum energy performance requirements…as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible”. It’s time that our homes become more comfortable, more sustainable but especially less energy-consuming, for the benefit of our planet..and our pockets. I have recently built two houses in wood and, although not certified as “passive”, they belong to that group of  ’new’ buildings that are very salubrious, sustainable in the use of materials and extremely energy-efficient. Nearly passive-houses!

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