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Products Guide

6 min read

A guide to Passive House Windows

Written by

Agata Gniady - Tęgi

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Record-high energy prices, rising bills for businesses and households, and the noticeable human impact on carbon emissions and climate change all underscore the need for lifestyle changes and better everyday choices. One significant area of improvement lies in construction and joinery purchases. We need to rethink how we design, construct, and operate our buildings to be more energy-efficient. One solution is the development of energy-efficient houses, particularly through the use of passive house windows.

An energy-efficient house is designed to minimise heating and operating costs. These buildings utilise renewable energy sources, such as heat pumps or photovoltaic panels, and incorporate advanced solutions with superior thermal insulation to prevent energy loss. The global standard for energy-efficient construction is the Passive House, known for reducing energy consumption by up to 90% compared to conventional buildings. Passive houses maintain a consistent temperature, requiring minimal energy for heating and resulting in significantly lower energy bills. Consequently, passive house windows and passive house doors must be far more efficient than traditional options.

What is a passive house?

The concept of the Passive House was established by the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1996. It focuses on creating low-energy homes that are less expensive to heat and cool, more comfortable for residents, and more resilient to extreme weather conditions. In essence, a passive house is an affordable and environmentally friendly building designed to minimise energy consumption and heat loss. The heating demand in passive houses is below 15 kWh/(m² year), which is substantially lower than that of standard buildings.

In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, a house has to be built according to 5 passive house principles. These include:

  • High insulation
  • Excellent airtightness
  • Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MHRV) system
  • No thermal bridging
  • High-performance passivhaus windows and doors

Source: passiv.de

These principles work in unison and influence each other in passive house design. Let’s delve deeper into one of these principles: passive house windows. Properly selected windows enhance living comfort and significantly reduce heating costs. That’s why it’s worth getting to know them better!

What windows for a passive house

There is no single type of window exclusive to passive houses. Instead, “passive house windows” refer to windows with excellent thermal insulation properties. Windows are a primary source of heat loss in buildings, so choosing the best windows for a passive house means focusing on those with a U-value not exceeding 0.8 W/m²K.

While passive windows don’t have specific mandatory components, they share several key characteristics. When selecting the best U-value windows for your passive house, consider these features:

 

Although passive windows don’t have any specific required components or elements, they share some common characteristics. For this reason, when looking for the best U-value windows for your passive house, you should take the following features into consideration:

  • Triple-glazed units – triple glazed windows can offer U-Value as low as 0.7W/m2K
  • The gaps between the individual glass panes filled with argon or krypton noble gases
  • Low-emissivity (low-E) glass –  glass with a thin metal oxide coating which improves the window’s thermal performance by reflecting heat into the home (while not affecting the incoming external light)
  • Window frames made of low thermal conductivity materials (most preferably, uPVC or wood)
  • Thermal breaks within the structural frame – materials incorporated into the frame to prevent conductive thermal energy loss.
  • Airtightness
  • The use of warm edge spacers (thermal spacers)
  • High solar energy transmittance – which means that natural heat from the sun’s radiation can be utilised more effectively in order to reduce the annual primary energy requirement

How to locate passive windows in a passive house 

Obviously, in order to make the most of energy efficient windows, you have to carefully consider how they are incorporated into the building design. And the requirements for passive house windows will differ worldwide. People living in hot climates will want to reduce solar gain, while those inhabiting cold areas will want to maximise it. Thus, they will choose glazing options and window locations based on the different criteria.

The main feature of passive houses is the appropriate layout of the rooms. For the Northern Hemisphere, the rule is that utility rooms such as the living room, kitchen or living rooms are oriented to the south. This arrangement guarantees the greatest daily exposure to sunlight. In these rooms, large glazing is also used, allowing for increased exposure to sunlight. In the summer, south-facing windows can be shaded by properly chosen blinds and shutters. Windows on the north side are, on the other hand, avoided due to the fact that heat losses are the greatest there.

Passive house windows location

But whatever your climate, airtight, thermally broken and well-insulated passive windows will maintain steady interior temperatures and comfort regardless of whether you are in a very warm or cold area. The reason is simple: proper insulation effectively reduces the heat exchange between systems with different temperatures. Therefore, it also protects the house interior from gaining heat from the surroundings.

Where to buy passive house windows 

Fenbro offers versatile window profile systems that are excellently suited for the passive house standard, based on their innovative frame technology and high quality. What’s important, all our high performance windows are not restricted to installation in passive houses only. Windows complying with the passive house design standard can be used both in renovation projects and in any new building.

The passive windows options to choose from the Fenbro offer:

Energy-efficient uPVC windows

Energy-efficient aluminium windows

How to choose energy-efficient windows for the passive home

Selecting the right passive windows with optimal U-values leads to lower heating bills. The first step is finding a reliable passive windows supplier. Look for companies with competent customer service and a wide range of products, enabling you to choose the perfect system for your passive home. Remember, even the best passive window cannot perform to its full potential if not properly installed. Fenbro offers fitting services and provides free quotes for your selected passive house windows.

Properly selected passive windows with the best U-value mean lower heating bills. The first step to buying the right window solutions is choosing the right passive windows supplier. Competent customer service and a wide range of products will allow you to choose a system that is ideal for your passive home. Obviously, we should remember that even the best passive window will not fully realise its thermal insulation properties if it is not properly installed. That’s why check Fenbro windows and doors fitting services and contact our Sales Team for a free quote on your chosen models of passive windows. 

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