Energy & CO2 within Buildings

'PassivHaus' is a scheme and philosophy coined by a German company to utilize the idea of energy efficiency in building to therefore reduce its ecological footprint. They typically use highly glazed south facades, a 'Sunspace' or a conservatory. Furthermore PassivHaus also intergrates the usage of natural ventilation systems to regulate the heat. PassivHaus require a very high standard of insulation and air-tightness to meet their high requirements. They are also dedicated to making the UK carbon neutral by 2016.

Overview of PassivHaus dwellings The term 'PassivHaus' refers to a specific construction standard for buildings which have excellent comfort conditions in both winter and summer.  These principles can be applied not only to the residential sector but also to commercial, industrial and public buildings.

PassivHaus dwellings are the worlds leading standard in energy efficient construction, built using a step-by-step approach they use efficient components and a whole house ventilation system to achieve exceptionally low running costs in order to be comfortable, healthy and sustainable.

PassivHaus dwellings typically achieve an energy saving of 90% compared to existing housing.

There are approximately 17,000 buildings constructed to the PassivHaus principles worldwide.

A dwelling which achieves the PassivHaus standard typically includes:

  • very good levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges
  • well thought out utilisation of solar and internal gains
  • excellent level of airtightness
  • good indoor air quality, provided by a whole house mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery

By specifying these features a PassivHaus does not need a traditional heating system or active cooling to be comfortable to live in 


This is the first house in the UK to reach Code 6 [http://] of the Government's scheme to produce net-zero, carbon-neutral buildings by 2016. This innovative design incorporates the 'Kingspan Off-Site TEK Building System' with astonishing annual fuel costs of just £30 this building is set to revolution the way we construct for the future. The building manages to achieve super-airtightness through its intricate design method of using insulation and ensuring it is high-performance.



Appliances: Efficient A+++ goods and a reduction in stand-by power.
Lighting: Low energy lighting technology throughout with external mood lighting provided by LED lights
low energy lighting
low energy appliances


The Kingspan Lighthouse has a lightweight structure but experiments with high thermal mass materials. It uses dense clement fibre board and BASF PCM (Phase Change Material) plasterboard, this stores up heat and slowly releases it. To prevent overheating this building has large ventilation openings, modest sized windows and solar shading. A windcatcher is also placed on the top, which brings daylight deep into the building and provides ventilation for the lower floor.


Southern orientation and shade considerations:Passive use of solar energy is a significant factor in PassivHaus design.

Energy-efficient window glazing and frames:Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient through the glazing should be at least 50%, it can be adjusted for glazing on different facades. This can help either reduce heat loss on sheltered sides/ north facing glazing, or alternatively help to reduce the likelihood of overheating.
Intelligent Building System: Encorporating the  Kingspan EnergiPanel .  This panel is generally installed on the most southerly facing roof and/or wall elevations of a building for optimum efficiency. The external profile of Kingspan EnergiPanel absorbs solar radiation and increases in temperature. Low energy fans convect the warm air, through hollow crowns in the panel, into the building to reduce energy consumption for heating/cooling by up to 25%.
Building Integrated Photovoltaics: The use of roofs and walls to carry photovoltaic solar panels for the production of electricity for use within the building. The Kingspan PowerPanel is integrated into a composite panel, eliminating the need for separately mounted solar panels.
Recycling Solar and Geothermic Energy: Solar thermal panels for production of hot water, space heating and general heat generation.
Solar shading: Light Funnel: Incorporated within the windcatcher, roof mounted lightfunnel brings daylight deep into the plan of the house. The top of the funnel is south facing and has single glazed roof lights within aluminium tubes that carry the light down into the rooms below.
Glazing: the ratio of glazing to wall in the Lighthouse is 18% as opposed to 25-30% in traditional houses. The living space is located on to the first floor to enable maximum daylight with a top-lit double height living space.
Solar Shading:Shading to the west elevation is provided by retractable shutters restricting direct sunlight, minimising heat gain in the summer, sufficient to stop 90% of direct solar gain. These can be folded away when not required to shade the space from evening sun. Future temperatures in the UK may reach those similar to southern Europe, however, our sun angle will remain low; we still need to maximise sun and daylight midseason and winter.
Solar Heating and Electricity
Maximising daylight within the living area


“Lighthouse is a net-zero carbon home of the future, which meets the standard to which all new homes must be constructed by 2016"  -Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan Off-Site

The design of the Kingspan Lighthouse has taken Part L into consideration. The fabrics of all wall, floor and roof constructions mean that the building contains more heat when needed and releases heat when needed. 


Rating for Kingspan Lighthouse

As the UK's first Level 6 ( ‘net-Zero Carbon’ for homes in use, including appliance and occupant energy use) domestic building, you would expect the Energy Performance Rating to be very high, and indeed it is. It was granted 100 on its Energy Performance Certificate in 2007, the best possible rating.

Energy performance

To achieve this rating the design of the building was thought through to every detail, a few of these details are shown below: 

Walls, roof, floor U-values = 0.11 W/m2K

- TEK® Building System, 284 mm thick

Windows = 0.7 W/m2K (incl. wooden frame), triple glazed, gas filled

Air permeability = 1m3/h/m2 at 50Pa

Thermal bridging 4.5% of surface area

Mechanical ventilation = 88% heat recovery

- Kingspan KAR MVHR

Specific fan power 0.92W/l/s

Lighting – 100% compact fluorescents

Drying room with fittings

Energy labelled A++ white goods

External lights on PIR sensors

Cycle storage

Home office facilities

A further more detailed breakdown of the calculations used to allow the home to become a Level 6 building can be found here on pages 7 and 8.