Modiko Passive House
The Sustainable Construction Website and Quercus have jointly conducted a survey with the aim of finding out if the Portuguese regard their home as cold, warm or comfortable.
74% of the roughly 1000 people interviewed regarded their home as cold in the winter, 25% said it was warm in the summer, and only 1% said their home was thermally comfortable.
35% of the Portuguese who declared their home was cold in the winter acquire additional clothing and equipment to keep warm, 21% have equipment for this purpose and 20% just wear more clothing.
21% of those surveyed who considered their house cold reported “a significant increase” in their energy bill – almost double – to guarantee comfort, 37% said their home didn´t have insulation, while the same percentage said they didn´t know if their home had insulation or not (35%).
Most of those interviewed lived in houses built between 1980 and April 2004, most of which were equipped with double glazing, but no thermal-break frames, which, according to environmentalists, means “the efficiency of the glass is wasted”.
Quercus points out that a survey conducted by the University of Dublin in 2003 concluded that Portugal is one of the countries in the European Union (EU) “where most people die due to poor conditions of insulation and heating”.
The association states that the purchasing power of the Portuguese people and “the most expensive electricity in Europe” mean it is natural “people just wear more clothing” to deal with cold in their home.
As far as environmentalists are concerned, local policies need to be implemented promoting the sustainable redevelopment of existing buildings, with a focus on insulation as a means of keeping the heat generated inside the home.
It is also vital to make the Portuguese people aware that more eco-friendly and efficient construction designs/systems need to be adopted.
Quercus reiterates that energy efficiency, “besides being an obvious need, is a mandatory requirement” specified in European laws on energy performance in buildings.
For example, Modiko®, a visionary construction undertaking, has been using this concept for some time now under the “Modiko Passive House” project.
The construction projects are rigorous and must comply with the requirements established by the “Passive House Standard” (the international standard acknowledged as the most demanding in terms of energy performance) and, consequently, also comply with the requirements inherent to the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD, 2010) and the domestic regulations on thermal comfort and energy efficiency in buildings.
“Passive Houses” are buildings with a high level of comfort in both winter and summer, achieved without the need to use powerful additional heating or air-conditioning systems – the building maintains a comfortable temperature of around 20 °C or less than 25 °C respectively (comfort temperature).
Hence, a Passive House combines bioclimatic and passive construction techniques (good insulation, the use of passive solar energy through glass spans, etc.), and an active ventilation system (very low consumption) with highly efficient heat recovery of the air used inside, which when extracted passively pre-heats the fresh air being drawn in.