Living in a Passivhaus: Spring

Denby Dale Passivhaus owners

In some ways, living in a Passivhaus makes you  more in tune with the seasons – and with what what’s going on outside. As we enter into the spring the heat in the sun is increasing, as the angle of the sun is changing. We open the blinds of the sunspace all day and let the sun warm up the house. We haven’t had to put the heating on for weeks and the solar thermal panels are heating our hot water so the only gas we’re using is for cooking.  Last night it was freezing again outside but it was 20 degrees in the bedroom – it’s comfortable.  Even on a dull day, the house temperature is about 20 degrees/ possibly 19 degrees – but it will still retain the heat – the comfort is in the fabric.

Because the comfort is in the fabric of the house, the temperature will change very slowly. Opening windows in the house after (for example) cooking kippers give a through flow which changes the air but doesn’t affect the house temperature because the heat is in the fabric. For things like strong odours we could use the boost on the MVHR, but opening the windows is just that bit quicker.

Under the microscope

Leeds Met University are still doing ongoing readings and measurements of the house, including: temperatures in five rooms; humidity; meter readings; external temperatures;  CO2 levels etc.

So far, they have found that the indoor temperature range is usually within 2 degrees – they were amazed with how stable it is. The Leeds Met team have been finding it useful to get information from occupants as to what’s going on in the house corresponding to fluctuations in their measurements and can ask us what happened on a certain day.

Kate’s birthday party even showed on the Leeds Met graph. We had a party with 11 extra people heating up the house – immediately you can see on the readings that the temperature stayed higher for longer  on that day. The Leeds Met team can also see from their readings when we’re away because we’re not adding our body heat to the house, there is a slow decay of temperatures. When we return, the internal temperatures go up. Passive houses work best with people living in them, body heat, cooking, showering, electrical  equipment etc, all contribute to the heating.

Geoff & Kate Tunstall, Denby Dale Passivhaus

21st March 2011

3 responses to “Living in a Passivhaus: Spring”

  1. blank Martin Hall says:

    What is a typical average CO2 level in your home? On the Green Building Forum, Viking House has submitted some data for a client’s home with Fine Wire MVHR installed. As most of us cannot measure CO2 levels the results in your home with a very efficient conventional MVHR unit would be of interest. Will Leeds Met be publishing the data?

  2. I believe Leeds Met are monitoring CO2 levels within the house, along with many other measurements. As soon as any data is made available on this, links will be included here.

  3. Great blog! We hear a lot about the work going INTO projects, but it’s nice to hear a bit about actually living in a Passivhaus. Looking forward to seeing any/some/all of the data that becomes available.
    We have done some work on Passivhaus, specifically retrofit, before and prepared a short introduction to it here: We’ve also just started out own blog if you want to take a look!

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