ROI ELIT: Passivhaus component certification

Description Passivhaus component certification of the ROI ELIT 93.2 timber window frames, by Grup-35. CálCalculation and optimisation of the thermal transmittance, Uf, of the frames according to the EN-ISO 10077 1 and UNE-EN-ISO 10077 2 standards, using the finite element simulation program Dartwin Frame Simulator Pro.Through our work, we were able to improve the thermal …

Passivhaus window frame ROI ELIT 93.2

R & D

Praxis cabecera proyectos

Description

Passivhaus component certification of the ROI ELIT 93.2 timber window frames, by Grup-35.

CálCalculation and optimisation of the thermal transmittance, Uf, of the frames according to the EN-ISO 10077 1 and UNE-EN-ISO 10077 2 standards, using the finite element simulation program Dartwin Frame Simulator Pro.Through our work, we were able to improve the thermal performance of the frames. We steered the client through the certification process with the Passivhaus Institut, and in under two months, successfully achieved phB class certification for warm-temperate climates.

Year: 2021

Location: Glomès, Lleida

Services: Passivhaus component certification

Passive House in Gijón

Description Passivhaus certification for a single-family detached home in Gijón, Asturias, designed by architect Juan Ignacio Corominas. The house has a treated floor area of 285 m2 distributed over a ground floor and a semi-basement. The construction system is mixed, combining honeycomb brick walls with external insulation, and a timber roof structure with 28cm of …

Praxis cabecera proyecto

Passivhaus

Passive House in Gijón

Description

Passivhaus certification for a single-family detached home in Gijón, Asturias, designed by architect Juan Ignacio Corominas.

The house has a treated floor area of 285 m2 distributed over a ground floor and a semi-basement. The construction system is mixed, combining honeycomb brick walls with external insulation, and a timber roof structure with 28cm of thermal insulation. Window frames are aluminum, Passivhaus certified, Cortizo COR 80. As part of the audit, Praxis verifies all the calculations and design documentation presented by the Passivhaus Consultant, which include architectural and M&E drawings and reports, the PHPP calculation, the Blower Door test report, ventilation commissioning documentation and photographs of the construction process and completed building.

Year: 2021

Location Gijón, Asturias

Services: Passivhaus Certification

Wine cellar and tasting room

Description Energy consultancy and M&E design for a wine cellar and tasting room in the Priorat region, Tarragona, designed by architect Èlia Vaqué. The winery consists of two modules, one underground, where wine is aged, and another above ground, where tastings are held: a total of 290 m2 gross floor area. Praxis has undertaken a thermodynamic …

Wine cellar and tasting room

Energy consultancy, M & E engineering

Praxis cabecera proyectos

Description

Energy consultancy and M&E design for a wine cellar and tasting room in the Priorat region, Tarragona, designed by architect Èlia Vaqué.

The winery consists of two modules, one underground, where wine is aged, and another above ground, where tastings are held: a total of 290 m2 gross floor area.

Praxis has undertaken a thermodynamic and daylighting study of the buildings, using DesignBuilder (EnergyPlus & Radiance), assessing temperature and relative humidity conditions in the wine cellar and analysing the risk of summer overheating in the tasting room. The results have been used in the design of the thermal envelope. We’ve also designed the M & E systems: mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, space heating and cooling, hot water production, and off-grid solar PV with batteries and backup generator. 

Year: 2021

Location: Els Guiamets, Tarragona 

Services:
Thermodynamic simulation, daylighting analysis, M&E design

Santa Coloma de Farners: Low Energy Building

Description Passivhaus design and consultancy for 4 terraced houses in Santa Coloma de Farners, Girona, design and developed by the Quim Ferrer, de Ecospai. Each home has a gross floor area of around 165 m2, distributed over 3 floors, with an underground parking lot. They are built with healthy and low-impact materials, and are in …

Terraced houses in Santa Coloma de Farners

Passivhaus

Praxis cabecera proyectos

Description

Passivhaus design and consultancy for 4 terraced houses in Santa Coloma de Farners, Girona, design and developed by the Quim Ferrer, de Ecospai.

Each home has a gross floor area of around 165 m2, distributed over 3 floors, with an underground parking lot. They are built with healthy and low-impact materials, and are in the process of Passivhaus Classic certification.

Praxis has delivered the PHPP modelling, design of the thermal envelope and airtight layer, advice on low-impact materials, and analysis and optimisation of thermal bridges and construction details. Praxis has also undertaken on-site Passivhaus supervision and quality control.

Year: 2021

Location: Santa Coloma de Farners, Girona

Services:
Passivhaus design & consultancy, Site supervision

Massies de Mollet: Passivhaus Nursing Home

Description Passivhaus design and consultancy for an elderly people’s residency located in Mollet del Vallès. This 6575 m2 building, designed by Genars and developed by FIATC Seguros via FIATC Residencias (Inverfiatc), is in the process of Passivhaus Classic certification. Praxis has delivered the PHPP modelling, design of the thermal envelope and airtight layer, advice on …

Massies de Mollet Nursing Home

Passivhaus

Praxis cabecera proyectos

Description

Passivhaus design and consultancy for an elderly people’s residency located in Mollet del Vallès. This 6575 m2 building, designed by Genars and developed by FIATC Seguros via FIATC Residencias (Inverfiatc), is in the process of Passivhaus Classic certification.

Praxis has delivered the PHPP modelling, design of the thermal envelope and airtight layer, advice on low-impact materials, and analysis and optimisation of thermal bridges and construction details.

We’ve also undertaken a thermodynamic and daylighting study of the building, using DesignBuilder (EnergyPlus & Radiance), to assess natural light levels and analyse the risk of summer overheating.

Our work has also included an audit of the mechanical and electrical systems, with proposals for improvements and compliance with the Passivhaus standard, to ensure efficient operation and low maintenance costs. Praxis has also undertaken the Blower Door testing and on-site Passivhaus supervision and quality control.

Year: 2021

Location: Mollet del Vallès, Barcelona

Services:
Passivhaus consultancy, thermodynamic simulation, daylighting analysis, M & E consultancy, Blower Door testing

Dynamic hygrothermal simulation and full-scale validation of a structural insulated panel made from bio-based materials.

Given the environmental impact of the construction sector- responsible for 40% of the total primary energy consumption of the European Union- reducing both the embodied energy of materials at manufacturing stage and minimising operational energy consumption in buildings are urgent tasks.

Dynamic hygrothermal simulation and full-scale validation of a structural insulated panel made from bio-based materials.

Given the environmental impact of the construction sector- responsible for 40% of the total primary energy consumption of the European Union- reducing both the embodied energy of materials at manufacturing stage and minimising operational energy consumption in buildings are urgent tasks. Timber, agricultural residues, and bio-based materials are local renewable resources that can be transformed into buildings products and components, fomenting the creation of circular economies, and reducing the environmental impact of the sector. The objective of the European ISOBIO project, that ran from 2015 to 2019, financed under the Horizon2020 program, was to address these problems through the development of new insulating materials and renders from plant fibres, agricultural residues, and bio-based binders. The article presents the results of dynamic hygrothermal simulations and full-scale validation of a structural insulated panel made from bio-based materials, for use in the construction of nearly-zero energy buildings.

ISOBIO structural insulated panel for new buildings

The prototype panel measured 1.95m x 1.95m, with a total thickness of 33.2cm in 8 layers with 9 different materials (Figure 1). The panel was rendered external with 25mm of lime and hemp plaster, applied on a rigid 50mm hemp insulation board, mechanically fixed to a 145mm red pine timber structure, filled with hemp, cotton, and flax insulation, followed by a 12mm OSB 3 timber board. An airtight and dynamic vapour control membrane was fixed to the inner face of the OSB, followed by a 45mm service void, insulated between timber battens with hemp, cotton, and flax insulation. The battens were positioned at 90º in relation to the main structural joists to reduce the thermal bridging through the timber. The inner service void was lined with a 40mm thermo-compressed straw board, plastered on the inside with 15mm of composite clay-hemp plaster, applied in 3 layers.

Figure 1: ISOBIO panel section drawings and materials
Figure 2: Location and type of sensros installed in the panel
Figure 3: Panel installation at the HIVE demonstrator, Wroughton, UK

Test set-up

Figure 3 shows the installation of the panels in the demonstrator in Wroughton, UK. A monitoring system was installed, with a meteorological station recording external climate conditions: dry air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, and barometric pressure. A temperature probe was installed on the outside of the panel, with a heat flow and temperature probe on the inner face, for measuring thermal transmittance in accordance with ISO 9869 [1]. In addition, temperature and relative humidity sensors were installed at 3 positions within the panel (Figure 2), to measure transient hygrothermal behaviour inside the panel and compare the results with dynamic hygrothermal simulations made with the WUFI Pro tool, following EN 15026 [2]. WUFI Pro 1D is a tool developed by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany for assessing the hygrothermal performance of one-dimensional building envelope cross-sections, taking into account the moisture content of the materials, their transient hygrothermal performance, capillary transport and summer condensation, with hourly outdoor climate conditions. The software version used was WUFI Pro v. 6.2.1.2210

Data was measured at an interval of 5 minutes, from 24/02/2018 to 14/03/2018 in the HIVE demonstrator, UK, for a total 432 hours, or 18 days, with 5184 data points. The interior temperature was maintained at an average of 25.5 °C throughout the period, with the use of an electric convection heater.

Monitoring Results and Validation

Figure 4 shows a cross section of the modelled panel, with sensor locations. Figure 5 shows the WUFI model of the panel and corresponding sensor locations.

Figure 4: Cross section of panel and sensor locations
Figure 5: Cross section of WUFI model and sensor locations

Figure 6 shows measured and modelled temperature and RH at position 2 (between the CAVAC rigid insulation and Biofib Trio insulation). Temperature dynamics are well reflected in the model. RH dynamics are less well reflected.

Figure 6: Measured vs. modelled (WUFI) interstitial temperature and relative humidity, positin 2, ISOBIO new-build panel, HIVE demonstrator

Figure 7 shows the measured and modelled temperature at position 3 (between the Biofib Trio insulation and OSB board). Temperature dynamics are well reflected in the model, with RH less so. The model nonetheless shows very close alignment with measured results.

Figure 7: Measured vs. modelled (WUFI) interstitial temperature and relative humidity, position 3, ISOBIO new build panel, HIVE demonstrator

Figure 8 shows the measured and modelled temperature and RH at position 4 (between the Intello membrane and the Biofib Trio insulation). Temperature and RH dynamics are well reflected in the model.

Figure 8: Measured vs. modelled (WUFI) interstitial temperature and relative humidity, position 4, ISOBIO new-build panel, HIVE demonstrator

Figure 9 shows the measured average heat flow rate, compared with the WUFI modelled heat flow rate, showing very good agreement.

Figure 9: Measured vs. modelled (WUFI)average heat flow rate, ISOBIO new-build panel, HIVE demonstrator

Conclusion

The results of the measured and modelled temperature and RH show good correlation, with dynamic temperature variations accurately reflected in the model. The short-term variations in relative humidity are not reflected with the same precision in the WUFI modelling results, possibly due to the assumption that the equilibrium water content in the materials is instantaneous, where in reality, there is hysteresis [3]. The hourly measured and modelled thermal transmittance data show very good correlation, with a difference of only 4% over the monitoring period.

The results indicate that bio-based materials combined in a composite SIP panel of this type can offer predictable hygrothermal performance for use in nearly-zero energy buildings.

References

  • ISO 9869-1:2014 Thermal Insulation – Building elements – in-situ measurement of thermal resistance and thermal transmittance. (Aislamiento térmica – elementos constructivos – medición in-situ de la resistencia térmica y transmitancia térmica)
  • UNE-EN 15026:2007, Comportamiento higrotérmico de componentes de edificios y elementos constructivos. Evaluación de la transferencia de humedad mediante simulación numérica.(Ratificada por AENOR en junio de 2010.)
  • N. Reuge, F. Collet, S. Pretot, S. Moisette, M. Bart, O. Style, A. Shea, C. Lanos 2019, Hygrothermal transfers through a bio-based multilayered ISOBIO wall – Part I: Validation of a local kinetics model of sorption and simulations of the HIVE demonstrator. Laboratoire de Génie Civil et Génie Mécanique, Axe Ecomatériaux pour la construction, Université de Rennes, 3 rue du Clos Courtel, BP 90422, 35704 Rennes, France.

El Niu: Andorra’s Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

In the heart of Andorra, Europe’s 6th smallest state, a groundbreaking architectural marvel named “El Niu” is redefining sustainable living. Meaning “The Nest” in Catalan, El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness.

El Niu: Andorra’s Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness

Nestled 1275 meters above sea level, El Niu accommodates 11 dwelling units across four floors

El Niu: Andorra's Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

In the heart of Andorra, Europe’s 6th smallest state, a groundbreaking architectural marvel named “El Niu” is redefining sustainable living. Meaning “The Nest” in Catalan, El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness.

Passivhaus Plus Certification

El Niu proudly stands as Andorra’s first multi-residential building to achieve the prestigious Passivhaus Plus certification. This accolade, awarded by Passivhaus Certifier Oliver Style of Praxis Resilient Buildings, is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the development team, including Lluis Lopez Castro of Propietats y Gestió and architect Antoni Martí.

Bernabé Rodríguez’s expertise in mechanical and electrical services engineering, coupled with Pere Marcé Coma’s airtightness Blower Door tests, played important roles in attaining this esteemed certification. Months of dedication and meticulous attention to detail, together with countless rolls of airtight tape, have marked a transformative milestone for Andorra’s architectural landscape.

El Niu Andorra's first multi-residential building with Passivhaus Plus certification

High Altitude, High Efficiency

Nestled 1275 meters above sea level, El Niu accommodates 11 dwelling units across four floors. Facing challenging weather conditions, with temperatures dropping below -10 ºC and winds reaching up to 40 km/h in the depths of winter, El Niu will ensure residents remain warm and cozy. This is achieved through a combination of high levels of insulation, thermal bridge-free construction, high-performance windows, excellent airtightness, and a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery, all contributing to create an impeccable thermal envelope.

Pioneering Heating and Hot Water Solutions

El Niu sets a new standard in energy-efficient heating and hot water systems with the use of Pichler PKOM 4 compact heat pump units for each apartment, supplied by Orkli. These Passivhaus certified all-in-one units provide mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, heating, cooling, and hot water generation. Notably, they eliminate the need for large and energy-intensive centralised heating and hot water systems, addressing sustainability concerns by minimizing energy consumption, while reducing winter heat losses and summer heat gains that can be perilous for overheating.


Innovative lightweight façade systems

The outer walls of the building consist of two distinct light weight steel frame systems: the Passivhaus certified Passivhaus External Wall System by Knauf Insulation, and the Archisol and Promisol systems by Arcelor Mittal. The Passivhaus certification of the Knauf Insulation system guarantees thermal bridge-free construction and added an extra layer of quality assurance. In addition, Knauf insulation used throughout the building is made from more than 80% recycled glass and incorporates the bio-based E-Technology binder, free from added phenols and formaldehydes, protecting both the workers on site and future occupants from harmful emissions.

Passivhaus certified Passivhaus External Wall System by Knauf Insulation,

Airtightness Excellence

Xavier Rodriguez from SIGA provided airtightness technical support, tapes, and membranes. Thanks to the meticulous work of Lluis Lopez and his team, they met the stringent Blower Door test requirement of n50 ≤ 0.6 ach, guaranteeing a draught-free, high-comfort living experience for El Niu’s occupants, irrespective of the external weather conditions.

Solar Power: The Green Finale

El Niu’s commitment to sustainability culminates in a 37.7 kWp solar PV array projected to generate 91% of the building’s energy consumption. This transformative addition turns El Niu into a nearly net-zero energy powerhouse, using approximately 71% less energy than pre-2010 buildings in Andorra. Impressively, it achieves this while emitting only 5976 kg of CO2eq per annum, contributing significantly to the reduction of the building’s carbon footprint.


In conclusion, El Niu represents a paradigm shift in Andorran residential construction, blending architectural innovation with environmental responsibility. As a Passivhaus Plus certified building, it not only provides a haven for its occupants but also sets a precedent for sustainable living in Andorra and beyond. El Niu is more than a nest: it’s a beacon of hope for a greener, more energy-efficient future.

For more technical information, check out our project data sheet here and in the International Passivhaus Database

Arctic Wall Passivhaus Component certification 

Description Passivhaus Component certification of the Hormipresa Arctic Wall construction system: a fully industrialized, high thermal inertia solution with an exterior white concrete finish. It has been certified as a Passivhaus component for the warm-temperate climate zone. To reach the Passivhaus Component certification Praxis undertook three-dimensional simulations of the wall to determine the thermal effect …

Hormipresa Arctic Wall Passivhaus Component certification

R&D

Praxis cabecera proyectos

Description

Passivhaus Component certification of the Hormipresa Arctic Wall construction system: a fully industrialized, high thermal inertia solution with an exterior white concrete finish. It has been certified as a Passivhaus component for the warm-temperate climate zone.

To reach the Passivhaus Component certification Praxis undertook three-dimensional simulations of the wall to determine the thermal effect of the steel connections penetrating the insulation layer using Dartwim Mold Pro 3D and Flixo Pro finite element simulation packages.

We calculated and optimised 10 standardised construction details, as required by the certification, associated with wall, roof, and floor connection details, and window installations. Praxis managed the certification process with the Passivhaus Institut. 

The certification criteria for warm-temperate climate requires a Uwall ≤ 0.25 W/m2·K and all construction details must be thermal bridge free with Ψ ≤ 0.01 W/m·K.

Year: 2022

Location: Barcelona

Services: Passivhaus component certification  

LILU’s House: the exception that should be the norm

LILU’s House is the home referred to in the first story above, and it really works. It brings together, under one roof, an office, a home, and a research unit on timber construction. Developed by Pere Linares and Montserrat Lucas, the house has a treated floor area of 142 m2 distributed over two floors.

LILU’s House: the exception that should be the norm 

Two stories 

First story: a client calls me, the self-builder of a home with Passivhaus Plus certification and tells me: “Outside it’s – 4 ºC and inside we’re at 19.6 ºC, with no heating on.”  

Second story: a family calls me, recently installed in their newly built home, and tells me: “We’re at our wits end… we’ve turned up the temperature of the underfloor heating to 51 ºC and we’re still cold! We have really high energy bills and we’re just not comfortable. Can you help us?” 

Both homes have an energy performance certificate with an “A” rating. Why, in 2023, is the second story still happening? Why, after having made the biggest investment of their lives, with the expectation of living in a comfortable house with low energy bills, are there families going through what this family is experiencing? The second story is all too common. The first story is an exception, that should really be the norm. 

LILU’s House: bioPassivhaus Plus  

LILU’s House is the home referred to in the first story above, and it really works. It brings together, under one roof, an office, a home, and a research unit on timber construction. Developed by Pere Linares and Montserrat Lucas, the house has a treated floor area of 142 m2 distributed over two floors. Architect Oriol Martínez has created a modern and compact design with carefully designed and protected openings to maximize solar gain in winter and prevent overheating in summer. 

The house has a mixed structure of light weight timber and CLT (cross laminated timber), where healthy materials with a low environmental impact have been prioritized. With a fully industrialized construction system that was prefabricated off-site, quality and precision have improved dramatically, with reduced on-site assembly times, less waste, less dust, less noise, and a lower carbon footprint. 

LILU’s House aims to be a laboratory for the dissemination of knowledge about timber construction with biobased materials, certified to the Passivhaus standard.  

The home is being monitored to evaluate it’s real-life performance, where data is being recorded on indoor CO2 concentration, air temperature, relative humidity, VOCs, energy consumption, and solar PV production. The house has a roof-integrated solar photovoltaic array with 126 photovoltaic tiles and a nominal power of 6 kWp. Each year, the building will produce, on average, 42% more energy than it consumes. 

This is LILU’s House: an exception, which should really be the norm. 

Blower Door in Viladecans

Description Blower Door airtightness test to the EN 13829 (A/B) standard for the verification of whole building airtightness, as part of the deep energy retrofit of a single-family terraced home in Viladecans, Barcelona.  The house is in the process of Passivhaus EnerPHit certification and has been designed by Daniel Tigges of Tigges Architekt. Two tests …

Praxis cabecera proyecto

Blower Door

Blower Door in Viladecans

Description

Blower Door airtightness test to the EN 13829 (A/B) standard for the verification of whole building airtightness, as part of the deep energy retrofit of a single-family terraced home in Viladecans, Barcelona. 

The house is in the process of Passivhaus EnerPHit certification and has been designed by Daniel Tigges of Tigges Architekt.

Two tests were carried out: during construction and following completion. For the preliminary test, leaks were detected with a handheld smoke generator and anemometer.

The final result of N50=0.55/h, is well below the minimum requirements of the Spanish building regulations CTE DB HE-1 2019 and almost 50% lower the minimum requirements of the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard (where the limiting value for existing buildings is N50 ≤ 1/h).

Year: 2021

Location: Viladecans, Barcelona

Services: Blower Door