Most people have been inside an office building that was frigid in the summer and sweltering in the winter. Or in one that was just a sea of dark cubicles. Or even one that felt musty and stale. Most people have more than once struggled to maintain energy levels throughout the work day. One wonders why a work environment couldn’t be as healthy and comfortable as a home environment. An office building constructed to Passive House standard can achieve that on top of securing the energy cost savings typically associated with the standard.
Indoor Air Quality
In Passive House, the building’s envelope is thoroughly insulated. In an office environment this translates to a comfortable, consistent air temperature for the workers. Not only that, but it also provides a quiet atmosphere in which to work. Employees further benefit from Passive House’s ventilation systems, which bring in a constant stream of fresh, filtered outdoor air. These systems can be programmed to flush all the stale, polluted air out that accumulates during the day from people, computers, printers, etc. Air quality at this high a level helps workers be comfortable, alert, and productive.
Rather than the constant buzz of overhead fluorescent lights in traditional office buildings, Passive House makes the most of natural light. Optimizing glazing orientation and placement bathes the space with natural light, which benefits the mental health of all who work there. Another method used to cut down on electric lighting is by reducing the height of cubicle walls, thereby allowing the natural light to shine through more of the office space. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.
Energy Cost Savings
As in other Passive House designs, Passive House office buildings report tremendous energy cost savings. Without the need for huge HVAC systems and by using natural light and LED bulbs among other things, owners of these buildings save 60-80% on utility bills.
Building Health and Maintenance
There is also less mold in buildings that are so well ventilated. On top of that, the heating and ventilation system requires less maintenance than conventional systems. Spending less on both energy and maintenance is a huge boost to the net operating income and will make for a fast return on investment.
A comfortable building, happy and productive employees, and impressive energy savings all prove Passive House to be the superior option for office building construction. Beyond these benefits is, of course, the great boon to the environment. Using so much less fossil fuel helps the Earth and your peace of mind. FiELD9: architecture has a Certified Passive House Consultant on staff who can help you reach your goals when it comes to a Passive House office building.