Recently, the 21st International Passive House Conference 2017 was held in Vienna, Austria. In addition to the presentation of papers at the Passive House Conference, there were more than 70 exhibitors displaying products that help make the most energy efficient buildings in the world possible.
Buildings built to the Passive House standard are very low energy buildings that meet a strict standard for air tightness, insulation, and healthy ventilation rates. To accomplish this task, manufacturers produce materials and products that go beyond normal construction practices to incorporate the most up to date building science. Many of the products featured at this international exhibition are available from suppliers in the United States. Here’s a look at some of the products that have been used to construct the envelopes of some the highest performing buildings in the world.
Windows are an important part of Passive House, and there were windows of all types on display.
Almost all the windows exhibited were European tilt-turn style casements, which will take some time for Americans to get used to. The windows open in two ways, both hopper type opening and in-swinging casement.
These Optiwin windows feature four separate seals and a secondary interior to exterior water drain. The woods used are durable species. There are many window choices available. Aluminum clad wood and uPVC are common frame materials. Nearly all windows are triple glazed.
Tapes, sealants, and membranes
These products were well represented at the Passive House conference in Vienna.
Pro-Clima and Siga
Some of the most interesting products exhibited at the conference were structural foams used for installing windows. Structural foam solves a big problem for passive house designers, a problem that students struggled with during the Passive House Academy’s recent Certified Passive House Designer training in Pittsburgh. The training was sponsored by the Green Building Alliance and Passive House of Western Pennsylvania. Designers had to balance placing the window’s in the insulation layer, to ensure there were no thermal bridges, while almost making sure the windows were structurally supported. These products solve that problem.
Conference exhibitors had two systems on display for installing windows in front of the structural wall system—Triotherm and ISO-Chemie. Pictured on the left is the Triotherm EPS foam system. Both systems use an insulating structural material to minimize the thermal-bridge connection to the structure. Installing the window in the plane of an insulation layer in front of the wall lowers the heat flow characteristics of the window/wall system.
Specialty products such as highly efficient pull-down stairs and roof hatches were on display, along with state-of-the-art roof windows. And, for the person who has everything, energy efficient pet doors! Both cat and dog models are available.