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Is It Worthwhile To Use Passive Windows?
Don’t technical questions come to your mind when you hear “Passive Window’? If yes, then stay with us and find out more about Passive Windows & Doors along with their benefits. Before directly talking about what actually Passive Windows are and how do they make living simpler, let’s discuss the term Passivhaus (passive house). It’s important to gain knowledge about passive homes before moving forward with passive windows.
A passive house is a home that makes every effort to use the minimum amount of energy for keeping the room cool or even warm. Passive house is designed & constructed to be highly energy efficient and use almost 90% less electricity whilst performing the same function as traditional windows. They definitely are a fast-emerging standard that uses minimal power for heating & cooling of the air within the house. You might have guessed, passive windows play a crucial role in making passive homes resourceful and energy efficient.
Passive windows should not be considered a type or brand of window, rather it’s an innovation delivering outstanding thermal insulation properties. With so many advancements in the field of architecture and so many changes throughout the years, the entire process of building a house has been transformed totally. Nowadays, modern buildings & houses create opportunities to improve energy efficiency, after all, it’s all about using windows and doors that are excellent insulators capable of keeping heat inside where it is needed while minimizing carbon footprint.
The application of passive windows in modern properties has drastically reduced power consumption even in the harshest climates. Furthermore, it is a newer concept that merges efficiency, affordability and comfort, all in one place. They are capable of providing consistent and comfortable temperatures throughout the year – reducing solar gain in summers and minimizing heat loss in winters. The impressive & magnificent thermal insulation characteristics of a Passive House Window are fundamentally due to its high-quality frame technology, combined with its triple glazing.
The window opening consists of almost 30 -40% of the frame, making the quality of the frame a dominating factor.
Why Use Passive Windows & Doors Instead Of Traditional Options
Passive Windows & Doors doesn’t compromise on the comfort of the house, keeping you snug and comfy in your house even if the weather outside reaches an extreme. The temperatures, altitudes and humidity levels differ worldwide, hence the requirement of a window or door in the mountains would be totally different from those at sea levels. No matter the climate, installing passive windows maintains a steady interior air temperature. Furthermore, the glazing choices can vary by either maximizing or minimizing heat gains.
Thermal Bridge Free Design
Additionally, passive homes are continuously praised for incorporating airtight design & a high level of insulation; implementing a ‘thermal bridge free design’. It means that insulation is applied without any leaks or weak spots, resulting in unmatched quality.
From the definition of passive houses, it is clear that they are eco-friendly, using natural sunlight as it’s main power source. So, using passive windows and doors in residences reduces fuel bills significantly, making them better choices than the traditional solutions.
Affordability & Versatility
In addition to this, it will surely save money in the long run, but the surprising fact is that they are actually affordable in the first place.
The Passive Window & Door Standards are appropriate for all kinds of structures and in all climate zones. So, any architect can work with Passive Windows & Doors, making it the most versatile component, they are not only restricted to residential buildings.
We all know that windows and doors are openings in architectural structures that need to be carefully designed & installed, otherwise it results in moisture damage, loss of energy and air leakages. It helps in building an energy efficient window and it must meet all the requirements such as diffusion tightness and durability. Beyond this, when windows and doors are not properly fitted or even sealed, it can cause water seepages. Especially in high performance green buildings like the passive homes, one can’t highlight enough the importance of fenestration.
Uncertainly, when there are leaks around windows & doors it makes houses inefficient. In other words, it is susceptible to condensation especially around the openings of windows that create moisture. This moisture will be hidden inside the wall framing and can surely cause problems later. More importantly, when the lumber reaches a humidity level of more than 15%, it increases the chances of mold and insects. Here, we need to keep in mind that moisture and humidity are the top causes of the degradation of houses. So, all this should be taken into account when installing windows or doors. After all, everything in a passive house is modeled, examined and optimized thermodynamically.
The installation of windows and doors is a little more complicated than sticking on a basic tape. It’s even not as simple as applying the silicone sealant or squeezing ubiquitous foam to make a connection that is neither healthy nor airtight. Furthermore, the foam residue and the waste chemicals pile up to damage the interior as well as the exterior of the architectural structures.
What To Consider Before Installing Window And Door
Installing a window and door properly can improve any building structure whether it’s a new build or a DIY home renovation. While installing windows and doors, it is important to consider the type of glass as it varies from region to region. Another essential factor is the Glazing spacer which is used between the panes of the glass. Mostly, a high quality window would have a thermally broken spacer. It ensures that the glass space is properly sealed and no heat or energy is being lost. Hence, it is more pertinent for higher performance to design and use the latest suspended film insulating glass glazing units and windows. Other things to consider include thermal bridging, vapour barriers, ventilation, air gaps and physical handling.
Now the question arises, why its important to install windows & doors correctly?
The answer is simple as the frames that hold the glass used in passive homes come with insulators including cork that separates the inside of the frame from the outside climate. This helps in reducing heat loss. An equally important detail of installing a window is the process used as it makes or breaks a house. When the opening is secured with a steel bracket and then filled with foam around the edges, resulting in loss of heat. So in real terms, the money spent on a passive window or door is easily negated by installing it poorly. Typically, a window comes with a nailing flange that is part of the frame and needs to be nailed directly to the wall. This results in the window being flushed with the outer edge of the exterior wall.
The Installation Process
Passive House windows don’t usually come with the nailing flange making them more flexible. The fact is, in a thick wall which is about 12 inches or more, the window doesn’t need to be installed on the outside of the wall. It’s important to install the window in the middle of the assembly, or being more specific, as close to the middle. In order to deliver an airtight seal, the best product to use is ME500 W, which is a polyethene copolymer film with non-woven, tear-proof fleece fabric.
In simpler words, ME500 W is an intelligent membrane that provides a perimeter window seal for internal and external air & weathertight joints. An integrated movement pleat is included in the foil which complies with the planning and installation recommendations for windows & doors. It is applied to the perimeter of the window frame to provide an airtight barrier.
It is attached to the wall with butyl adhesive with a self-adhesive strip. It is a specifically designed reactive foil whose water vapour absorbency changes depending on the humidity inside the joints. This permits the product to act as an intelligent seal delivering airtight internal joints, weather tightness and breathable external joints. This intelligent reactive system guarantees that the joint is dried at a maximum rate. At each corner of the window, a fold is produced by pinching together 25mm of the membrane. Once the membrane is applied to the frame, the extra membrane is cut with a 50mm overlap. The bond is consolidated with a seam roller to make it adhere. Fixing brackets may be applied to the edge of the frame where necessary and secure them with screws.
The next step is positioning the window, the window is placed in its opening and packed level under the cell. Now an external weather seal (TP600) which is an impregnated joint sealing tape that is used in a wide variety of movement joints such as window perimeter seals. The thickness of the tape varies significantly and is applied by removing the liner. It is placed inside the perimeters of the joint and fixed at the edge of the window using the self-adhesive strip. The tape expands and permanently seals the gap between the wall and the window. Here, make sure the tap is compressed with a flat blade and a tight joint is achieved at the corners.
The internal airtightness is achieved through ME500 and the external weather-tight seal is achieved with TP600, making sure the window is energy efficient. Moving forward, the next step is to apply the FM330 Pro Foam Air Seal to the perimeter joint. It is a rapid, moisture-curing polyurethane foam in a gun that has superb elasticity, airtightness and acoustic properties. This expanding Foam gives the installation an improved thermal performance. It is perfect for tight gap filling, with a movement accommodation factor of 50% that ensures the integrity of the seal is maintained. It is recommended to use adapter nozzles during this procedure. After this step and in order to improve the adhesion of the strip ME902 Primer is applied. Now simply remove the released liner and press down the membrane on to the prime surface along with consolidating the adhesion with a seam roller. In order to maintain the airtightness, seal around the brackets with a SP525 frame sealant. Don’t forget to seal the overlapping of the membrane and the installation of the window is completed with three sealing levels, complying with the standards.