This case study is based on the property development of Queensland’s very first Passivhaus, located at 6B Tallaroon Street, Shailer Park. The project was commissioned by CEO of EE Windows, Paul Gerrard. A Passivhaus, otherwise known in English as a Passive House, has a meticulous standard for energy efficiency. The primary objective of a Passivhaus is to reduce the property’s ecological footprint. The design of the house results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling within the home.
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The Inspiration for Passivhaus
When Paul first moved to Australia he was astounded by the low energy efficiency of Australian homes, especially the windows. “Most of my clients were expats from Europe who had experience of UPVC double glazing and its benefits, and wanted the quality again in their homes in Australia,” he said.
Paul found that most Australian families were purchasing their windows for soundproofing and not for their energy rating. “Having seen lots of houses being built and the standards being so low, I decided if I was building something it would set a new benchmark.” As a result, Paul was inspired to develop Passivhaus to prove to his customers that double glazing would work in a warm climate.
Paul plans to measure the energy use of his first Passivhaus for 12 months and will document the temperature of the property at different times throughout the year and the air quality in the house.
Because this two storey, 3900ft property was built based on Passivhaus design principles, the windows and doors had to meet specific economic standards. Naturally, the best products for the job came from EE Windows!
Paul’s designers and builders H4 Living installed twenty-six white REHAU windows on the property with a mixture of tilt and turns, awnings and casements. Alongside these windows, they installed six REHAU doors. These doors were a mixture of white and golden oak bi-folds, French doors and single doors.
One of the main challenges Paul faced during this project was that his builders had never installed REHAU windows or doors before. They only had experience with the REHAU plumbing system. However, due to REHAU’s excellent reputation in Australia, the REHAU tape on the windows and doors gave the builders the confidence they needed to execute the installation and ensure the Passivhaus remained airtight.
The EE Windows Solution
Paul’s designers and builders H4 Living installed the windows and doors using a Viridian (Pilkinton) product called Comfort Hush. This product has a special low-e coating but is also laminated with a 0.76mm Poly-vinyl Butyral (PVB) acoustic interlayer for better performance. The Comfort Hush windows provided Paul with the best of both worlds – a high thermal performance with a low sound penetration. The windows were directly fixed to the steel frame and then foamed inside and out.
A product called Pro Clima Tescon Profil Tape was then used to seal the window frames back to the Polastic insulation to achieve an airtight seal. Paul also installed two internal doors to close off the house from the garage and laundry room. The installation of the glass floor in the hallway, kitchen and living room proved to not only be a test of skill, but also a test of strength as it weighed 300kg and was delicate to maneuver.
The Final Results
The blower door test was completed, achieving a 0.8 without plasterboard. During the test, Paul took the opportunity to use a smoke pump to detect leaks around the windows and doors. The test was outperformed, reporting no leaks on any of the windows and doors.
Paul and his family moved into the home in December 2017. “You can tell it is so much cooler inside already compared to the houses we work around on a daily basis,” he says.