Clinic By Design

Have you Heard of Passive House Design?

 

 

Clinics by Design are proud to be the first Australian company to provide Passive House design and construction services for the Healthcare industry.

So what is Passive House design and how can it benefit you?

The concept of Passive House design originated in Europe around 30 years ago and is based around the idea that adopting a few key design principals can enable the construction of buildings, both residential and commercial, with healthy and dry indoor spaces that require little to no heating or cooling.

 

Passive House design has been adapted to suit different climates, which is perfect for Australia. In a country where our heating and cooling requirements change from state to state, due to severe differences in temperature depending on where you are, it is helpful to have the one system that can adapt and function in all climates.

The way Passive House design in achieved to its full potential is by following the five principals of Passive house:

1. Airtightness – This is the first principal used to achieve energy efficiency and involves the construction of a highly insulated floor slab, windows, exterior walls and roof. Although this can be seen as a challenge within the Australian medical environment in which we have automatic doors and promote open windows where possible in order to create a better atmosphere for patients, it doesn’t mean your clinic will be constructed as an air tight box. The difference is that when these windows and doors are closed there is absolutely no gap for cold or warm air to escape, therefore maintaining an ambient and comfortable environment.

 

2.Thermal Insulation – Proper thermal insulation is essential in Passive House design. Not only does thick and continuous insulation provide the crucial thermal separation between the heated or cooled inside environment and the outdoors but it also improves thermal comfort by reducing the risk of condensation.

 

3.Thermal Bridge Free Construction – As mentioned above thermal insulation is only beneficial if it is continuous. Continuous insulation means keeping unnecessary penetrations through the insulation to a minimum. Where penetrations are unavoidable low or non-conducting materials should be used. This avoids thermal bridges in which heat can escape and reduces the risk of condensation.

 

4.Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery – or MVHR is the process of improving indoor air quality without having to open windows or doors in order to get fresh air into the building. This doesn’t mean windows and doors can’t be opened, it means they don’t NEED to be opened to ensure your clinic has fresh air quality. This is something that can be beneficial within environments that are dealing with skin or more serious medical conditions and therefore want to keep the building free from outdoor pollutants where possible. Not only do MVHR systems help to clean the air from pollution and contribute in regulating humidity they also recover warm and cool air which would otherwise go to waste.

 

5.High Performance Windows – The correct windows play a huge role in Passive House design. By installing airtight, double or triple glazed windows throughout your clinic it will allow for solar radiation to warm up the interiors in winter but minimise the radiation in summer.

 

Passive House design offers a realistic, cost effective solution for an economical building. It provides a high level of comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling.

 

In an age where energy prices are steadily growing and global warming is a considerable issue Passive House design is the logical way forward in Australian healthcare.

 

Buildings that implement the Passive House design principals use approximately 80% less energy than buildings of equivalent size while providing superior air quality and comfort, two extremely important factors in any healthcare setting.

 

If you would like to learn more about Passive House design and how it can benefit your next medical construction additional information can be found at www.nzeb.com.au or talk to our in-house Passive House Designer Kostas Stefanidis.