Today, when energy is of the most valuable resources on the planet, the concept of energy efficient house is on the front burner. So, let us take a look what the concept considers as one.
Energy efficient house is a building in which low energy consumption is combined with a possibility to maintain certain microclimate. Energy efficiency of such a house can reach up to 90%. The annual demand for heating of an energy efficient house does not exceed 15 kWh per square meter. Total primary energy consumption is no more than 120 kWh per square meter per year.
To date, there is no single official international definition for energy efficient house. However, in Europe there are certain criteria allowing us to define a house as energy efficient.
One of them is a postulate that an energy efficient house consumes at least 50% less energy than standard buildings constructed in accordance with current power consumption regulations.
Energy efficient house can also be defined as the building that provides higher energy efficiency and has much smaller impact on the environment. Energy efficient houses consume 70-90% less energy than conventional buildings. A great example of an energy efficient house with clearly defined energy consumption requirements is the German Passive House, French Effinergie, Swiss Minergie, and Danish energy efficiency class 1.
The earliest and most widely known concept of energy efficient house is the German Passive House. The concept was developed in Germany in the 90’s and generally allows to consider a house as energy efficient when it complies with the requirements developed by the German Institute for passive buildings. Passive House is a house with good thermal insulation, which helps maintain a comfortable microclimate mainly due to human warmth, solar energy, and household electrical appliances, such as a kettle, a stove, etc. Passive houses (buildings with ultra-low energy consumption, without the traditional heating system) technology is effective and was tested in the cold Scandinavian climate. These houses have virtually no heat loss.
A house, generating energy is a building that generate electricity for its own needs. In some cases, there is excess energy during the summer, which can be sold to the energy company and bought back during the winter. Good heat insulation, innovative design, and the use of renewable energy sources (solar panels, for example) make the existence of such houses possible.
House with zero CO2 emissions is a term most commonly used in the UK. Such a house does not emit CO2. This means that the house itself provides itself with energy from renewable energy sources, including the energy spent on heating/cooling units, hot water, ventilation, lighting, cooking, and electrical appliances. By 2016, all new homes in the UK are to be built in accordance with this standard.
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