Skanska is the company that has built, and continues to build, the highest number of passive buildings in Sweden. Passive buildings utilize the free heat generated by human activity and household electricity. The result is a building with extremely low heating costs and a healthy indoor environment.
In a passive building, energy use for heating is often less than half the level stipulated in Swedish building standards. Heat losses are minimized by building houses that are airtight, well insulated and have high degree of heat recovery. Accordingly, passive buildings do not require any conventional heating system.
In Sweden, the term passive building is protected. In order for a building to be designated a passive building, it must fulfill the Forum for Energy Efficient Buildings’ (FEBY) specification of requirements. Today, this specification of requirements encompasses residential buildings. However, the solutions used in a passive building can also be applied to all types of buildings.
Passive buildings started out as a second-party system, but can today be third-party certified by the Forum for Energy Efficient Buildings.
Reduced operational costs and climate impact
Any additional cost arising during the building phase will be recouped in the form of lower operational costs. The industry estimates an additional investment of about 5 percent for a passive building (some say it is between 0 and 10 percent). The saving that can be made by avoiding the cost of investing in a heating system can finance part of what is needed in the form of a ventilation system, better windows and more insulation. Passive buildings place high demands on expertise in building structures in an energy-efficient manner.
The specification of requirements for a passive building is designed so that the building can be constructed in a number of ways. What governs the choices made is the power requirement. As a result, the passive buildings that exist today vary in appearance and have different solutions for ventilation, heating and design.
Pressure tests are carried out to verify the power requirement. The recovery of heat from the exhaust air can be supplemented with a heating battery for the very coldest of days. However, other solutions also exist, such as district heating. To ensure fulfillment of the requirements, it is recommended that energy-efficient household appliances and lighting are used in addition to limiting window sizes.
Modern-day building technology, with airtight façades and relatively large window areas, means that the risk of excess temperatures during the summer in many passive buildings is greater than the risk of it being too cold indoors, which is why solar protection is also necessary.
The advantage of a passive building is that the heating requirement in extremely low, thus reducing the operational cost and climate impact.
The climate impact can be further reduced by providing energy from renewable sources. Other advantages include indoor comfort thanks to controlled and effective ventilation. At present, Skanska is building the first buildings that can be called “active buildings” or “zero-energy buildings.” They produce as much energy as they use, and can even generate a surplus.
Skanska has built the highest number of passive buildings in Sweden
The passive building concept originated in Germany where several different types of buildings have become passive buildings. In Sweden, Skanska is the company that has built, and continues to build, the highest number of passive buildings. This means that we currently have experience gained from various types of passive buildings and solutions for new production and the renovation of buildings constructed as part of the housing-development program of the 1960s (Miljonprogrammet). Interest in the passive buildings constructed by Skanska is considerable.
We have constructed the Blå Jungfrun property for the municipal housing company Svenska Bostäder in Stockholm. Skanska Nya Hem has its own concept for passive buildings called Öresund Green.