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362 E 10th Ave
Vancouver, BC, V5T 4G5

604.558.1123

Bryn Davidson 604.728.0606

Mat Turner 604.999.1460

Energy Modelling

Energy Modelling for Passive House Design

Designing a Passive House is a rigorous process that involves a lot of detailed energy modelling and a variety of design tools. 


PHPP

The primary tool is spreadsheet called the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) that was developed by the International Passive House Institute in Germany.

Having been refined over many years, the PHPP has proven to be one of the most reliable tools for accurately predicting a building's energy usage.

This is the PHPP's Verification Page where you can see if the project meets one of the two main criteria for energy efficiency: Heating Demand (or) Heating Load

This is the PHPP's Verification Page where you can see if the project meets one of the two main criteria for energy efficiency: Heating Demand (or) Heating Load


DesignPH

The PHPP is very detailed but not very nimble.

At the start of a project it's helpful to have a more flexible and design-oriented tool that can be used to test a wide range of design options.  

For the early stages of a project we use the DesignPH plugin for Sketchup. It allows us to quickly build a 3D model of our concepts and test whether or not they might meet the Passive House standard.  

The 3D interface also allows us to quickly calculate the impact shading from adjacent buildings and trees.

DesignPH model of the Trafalgar Passive House.  The red areas indicate the 'thermal envelope' (i.e. the insulated parts of the buildings) while the objects in white are non-thermal.

DesignPH model of the Trafalgar Passive House.  The red areas indicate the 'thermal envelope' (i.e. the insulated parts of the buildings) while the objects in white are non-thermal.


Flixo (Thermal Bridges)

A thermal bridge is any part of a building where heat can escape through a 'bridge' in the insulation.

The bridge might be a piece of lumber or a piece of metal, but they can quickly negate the benefits of the building's insulation if they're not eliminated.  

To test the impact of a thermal bridge we use a piece of software called Flixo that calculates the heat flow through specific parts of a building.

In conventional homes there is substantial thermal bridging through every piece of lumber. This thermal image shows the heat escaping through the thermal bridges.

A Flixo thermal bridge model showing the threshold of an entry door. The red areas are the warm interior surface while the purple is the cold exterior.  The insulation and installation methods in this detail keep the floor warm and comfortable at all times.

A Flixo thermal bridge model showing the threshold of an entry door. The red areas are the warm interior surface while the purple is the cold exterior.  The insulation and installation methods in this detail keep the floor warm and comfortable at all times.

Remodeling and Home Design