In the last few years, the sustainable feeling has been increasing in society, changing the way we dress, the way we eat and also where we live. A ‘Passivhaus’ is a building standard that due to the materials and the process of the construction has an energetic annual save of 34 per cent. And the biggest one in the world is being built in Germany by Frey Gruppe.
“The original idea behind the ‘Passivhaus’ concept focuses on the challenge of losing the minimum amount of heat energy possible as a result of highly efficient exterior insulation,” says Wolfgang Frey, an architect specialized in sustainable urban planning and the proprietor of Frey Gruppe.
Germany has been leading Passivhaus construction in Europe and Frey Gruppe is currently working on the building of the world´s largest passivhaus with an area similar to a soccer field and will be the home for 162 families. With this project, “there would be avoided more than 160 tons of CO2 emission,” Frey says. 160 tons of emissions is the same amount of emissions that is produced by traveling 540 times from Barcelona to Copenaghe by car.
Frey also adds that “the walls of Heidelberg Village also provide space for climbing plants to grow. These plants produce oxygen and introduce a piece of nature in the proximity of residents, which makes living in the building a bit more attractive.”
The Guardian published in an article about the future of sustainable buildings that “houses can be fitted with photovoltaic panels, geothermal collectors and other hyper-efficient systems and sensors that adjust to minute changes in humidity or temperature, but sometimes “first principles”, such as using simple materials and positioning a building so that rooms follow the path of the sun, are all you need”.
With that idea, Frey agrees that ”being sustainable means to cover many aspects such as energy consumption during the construction, time and also the right use of materials. Many eco-houses use materials that need a lot of energy during production and thus cause a lot of CO2 emission.”
Despite the fact that there are more than 25,000 Passivhaus in the world, it is still a minority way of building and unknown to many people. “In Germany for example, most people rent apartments and houses (so the buyer/investors themselves do not live in the houses they own). This is why – as a sustainable company – one of our most crucial goals is to raise the awareness of the people (both investors and tenants), that building Passivhaus and eco-houses is the only way to save the environment”, Frey explains.