PASSIVE HOUSES

Feel at home with sustainable Mediterranean living
ULTIMATE COMFORT

Why to choose a Passive House?

Some people choose it because this kind of construction is more environmentally-friendly. However, there is another crucial reason for you to build a Passive House in Mallorca: the comfort that it will provide for you and your family.

It is a proven fact.

Passive Houses are much more comfortable than houses built with traditional methods.

After all, comfort is all we seek in a house, right? A cosy home where one can enjoy every corner of it. A house in which we can walk barefoot, move from a room to another or walk beside a window without feeling an abrupt and uncomfortable change in temperature.

PASSIVE HOUSES

We explain to you everything you want to know

How is it like to live in a Passive House?

How will a Passive House transform your life?

How does a Passive House work?

THERMAL COMFORT

How is it like to live in a Passive House?

For all of us, thermal comfort is a determining factor when choosing our home. And this is precisely the main idea on which the concept of Passive House is based.

Living in a Passive House is to enjoy an exceptional thermal comfort in a house that stays warm during winter and cool during summer.

And, what is more:

et|arrow_left-right_alt|+

No draughts

far|fa-snowflake|

No cold areas

fas|fa-thermometer-empty|

No abrupt changes in temperature between rooms

mt|blur_off|

No noisy and expensive heating and air conditioning systems

COMFORT IS THE TRUE LUXURY

Discover how the day-to-day life is like in a Passive House

Be surprised by the comfort a Passive House offers. Click on the different dots and the inhabitants of a Passive House will tell you something interesting about their home.

COMFORT IS THE TRUE LUXURY

Discover how the day-to-day life is like in a Passive House

Be surprised by the comfort a Passive House offers. Click on the different dots and the inhabitants of a Passive House will tell you something interesting about their home.

Imagine living in a house that keeps a comfortable temperature all year round reducing energy consumption to nearly zero.

A house that is able to use the residual energy released by a hair dryer, a TV, a light bulb or any other small electrical household appliance to heat the whole house a few degrees.

A house that is even able to take advantage of the heat given off by the body of 4 of its inhabitants to warm a 20 m² room.

Magic? No. Science.

A HOUSE THAT HEATS UP EVEN BY MAKING POPCORN

Science at the service of human comfort

The Passive House standard represents the most effective application of the principles of physics to housing. The thousands of Passive Houses already in use around the world and the exponential growth of this standard today are irrefutable proof of its effectiveness.

But there is stronger evidence than that: the satisfaction of the inhabitants of this type of house and the reaction of those who visit a Passive House for the first time. There is no doubt that their comfort does not leave anyone indifferent.

This was the case of our last clients, a German couple who, after visiting some friends for a weekend at their brand-new Passive House in Germany, described to us their experience with these words:

"The house was extremely cosy and quiet. Without any noise from outside. There was a sense of high quality and well-being everywhere. We could walk around the house and all the rooms had the same temperature, which was simply perfect. Neither hot nor cold. As opposed to our house, the floor’s temperature was comfortable. This really caught our attention. Our friends told us that they didn’t need to turn on the stoves they brought from their old house during winter. At first, we found this hard to believe, but everything they said turned out to be true. They showed us that the temperature of the house could be raised just by making popcorn or cooking something in the oven. We want the same, but in Mallorca”.

THE EXPERIENCE

The unique Passivhaus sensation

“The incomparable feeling of comfort when living in a Passivhaus can only be understood if one has experienced it himself”

Günter Lang

Engineer, international consultant Passivhaus and director of Passivhaus Austria.

A HOUSE THAT TAKES CARE OF YOUR HEALTH

How will a Passive House transform your life?

Besides providing superior comfort, Passive Houses have been designed to benefit your health and your household economy because they:

Reduce the risk of colds

By avoiding drafts and sudden changes in temperature within the different areas of the house, the temperature is much more under control than in a conventional house. As a result, the risk of family members catching annoying colds is reduced.

Improve your rest

The thick walls used in Passive Houses lead to greater acoustic insulation. Passive Houses are silent houses that avoid external noises that cause stress, insomnia and irritability, which, in turn, can lead to loss of concentration, productivity or affect the mood of the inhabitants of traditional houses. Passive Houses are silent. They prevent acoustic discomfort allowing you to rest better. As a result, you and your family will feel more productive and in a better mood.

 

Purify the air

The ventilation system replaces traditional heating and cooling systems and ensures constant air renewal. This is achieved by expelling the CO2 generated by the inhabitants of the house and reducing dust, mites, pollen and other harmful particles by means of filters. The result is pure and clean air circulating throughout the house which will increase the comfort for everyone, especially for those members of the family who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems.

Prevents damp and house mould

Conventional houses often have dampness or mould problems due to insufficient ventilation or the presence of thermal bridges. The tightness of the structure of Passive Houses prevents condensation and keeps away the feared mould. In addition, it keeps the humidity of the house at an optimal level to protect the health of its inhabitants.

Save money

In the long term, a Passive House saves you money by reducing your house’s heating and cooling needs by 90 %. For example, the average consumption for a standard house of 200 m² is approximately 3,000 € per year. However, the consumption would decrease dramatically to only around 300€ in a Passive House. This means saving 2,700€ yearly in bills.

Save time

There is the possibility of considerably reducing the construction time of your Passive House if, instead of building it in the conventional way, you opt for a structure and a thermal envelope of wood that arrive at the construction site already finished. The latter option is the one preferred by our clients, as it reduces the construction time from 12-14 months (which is the average time it takes to build a house using conventional methods) to a much shorter period of time which ranges between 6 and 8 months.

Are you curious to see how we build a Passive House?

 The best way to understand why a Passive House is built faster than a traditional one is by watching the following video about the construction of one of our projects in Cala Murada.

CASAL MALLORQUÍ

Build your Passive House with us

At Casal Mallorquí, we are experts in the construction of Passive Houses and Passive Houses certified by the Passivhaus Institute.

If you want to live in a healthy and sustainable house with unparalleled comfort, definitely the Passive House model is for you.

The design and construction of a Passive House requires the knowledge and expertise of professionals specialized in this standard since, in most cases, its objectives, parameters, calculations, etc. are unknown to architects of conventional houses.

Hence the importance of entrusting your construction project to a certified expert to properly build the Passive House of your dreams.

If you want to build a house that allows you to take care of your family and of the planet at once, we will help you to achieve it.

Why do we build Passive Houses?

Committing to this type of construction respectful with nature is our way of showing that our commitment to the environment goes beyond words.

We are proud of contributing to the preservation of this paradise that is Mallorca. And to know that, at the same time, we have benefited the health and economy of our clients.

What if this way we could open up a path and inspire other builders to do the same?

The past cannot be changed, but we are convinced that, together, we can change the future of how construction is understood, the future of our planet and the quality of life of people.

Martijn van der Kam

Director of Casal Mallorquí

A GIANT THERMOS FLASK

How does a passive house work?

A Passive House is a house that has been designed and built in such a way that it requires very little energy to maintain a constant, pleasant temperature. In this sense, such buildings need hardly any active heating or cooling to stay comfortable year-round.

More specifically, Passive Houses use 90% less energy than traditional ones to reach a comfortable temperature all year round. Thus, conventional and highly-energy-consuming heating and cooling systems are rendered unnecessary.

A Passive House is heated and cooled off “passively”, with minimal energy consumption.

During winter, the house makes the most of the climate conditions making efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and the heat recovery carried out by its ventilation system to heat up and keep a temperature never lower than 20° C.

During summer, it makes use of passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading or pre-cooling of the air supply to keep it comfortably cool. This way, the temperature never surpasses 25° C even at the hottest of summers.

A simple example to understand how a Passive House works is through the simile between a coffee machine (traditional house) and a thermos flask (Passive House).

Although the operation of a Passive House is far more complex than that of a thermos, both are based on the same basic principle.

The coffee maker will keep our coffee hot only as long as it is connected to the power supply.

On the other hand, the thermos flask will keep the coffee hot without needing any active external energy source thanks to its airtight and thermal insulating properties.

A Passive House uses higher-quality thermal insulation, glazing (double or even triple glazed glass windows) and insulated frames in order to:

  • Retain heat and cold in depending on our needs and stopping them from leaking out.
  • Prevent the outside air from entering the house uncontrollably (either hot or cold).

THE CLIMATE AS AN ALLY

South facing and sun protection

Even before it is built, each house is designed to take full advantage of the particular climatic and geographical conditions of its location.

The orientation of a Passive House and the design of large glazed doors and windows are crucial to its energy efficiency. For this reason, when we build a Passive House, we look for the best orientation on the plot, the wind patterns, etc. We position the house so that the daily and seasonal movements of the sun work to our advantage to increase indoor comfort while reducing heating and cooling consumption.

In a privileged Mediterranean climate, such as that of Mallorca, sun’s rays shine at a lower angle in winter while, in summer, sun’s rays strike the earth’s surface almost perpendicularly. This means that the best orientation for a house in the northern hemisphere is south. With all this in mind, we design south-facing facades with large glass windows directed towards the sun that let in natural light throughout the day and act as solar collectors and natural radiators in winter.

This orientation allows for direct sunlight entering the house during winter, when it is most needed to increase indoor comfort. In summer, we can avoid excessive solar radiation by using overhangs, designing shaded areas such as porches, cornices, canopies, awnings and pergolas or taking advantage of the natural shading of vegetation (such as trees or creeper plants). These shaded areas (used in combination with the use of the external breeze) will prevent too much heat from the sun getting into the house and will keep it cool during the summer.

THE BEST ENERGY IS THE ONE THAT IS NOT CONSUMED

The 5 principles of a Passive House design

In our constructions, we rigorously follow the 5 basic principles of this German standard of construction:

1. Airtightness

A building envelope is what separates indoors from outdoors. Passive House building methods make the most of this envelope by superinsulating the building so that they meet the airtightness requirements of the standard. When addressing the energy efficiency of a house, one of the most important factors is the compactness of its thermal envelope. For this reason, when building a Passive House, great care is taken to ensure all its parts are fully-sealed, achieving therefore, the highest energy efficiency.

Contrarily to that of traditional houses, the envelope of a Passive House is a continuous one, an air barrier which is wrapped uninterrupted around the entire house. Thus, this kind of envelope could be thought of as a type of ‘coat’: a very useful ‘coat’ that is continuous and joined up to form a complete loop. This means that there are no unintended gaps in the building envelope that allow uncontrolled air to leak in or out of the building.

2. High-quality windows and doors

The high-performance glazing systems used (windows and glazed doors) are efficient and are strategically located to make the most of them. The windows and doors that we install in our projects are double or even triple glazed. Their precise alignment allows the house to take advantage of the sun radiation (when doors and windows are closed) and a proper natural ventilation (when they are open).

In winter, solar radiation warms up the house. In summer, passive cooling methods block it to prevent overheating. All these measures ensure a natural and pleasant indoor climate all year round.

3. Thermal bridge-free

A thermal bridge is a weak point in the insulating surface of the envelope that protects a building. This failure allows heat to escape the house during winter or to enter the house during the summer. In addition, it can lead to condensation problems, damp and mould.

In order to avoid these problems, the structures of Passive Houses are carefully designed to guarantee the airtightness of the house. This way, energy loss and points of condensation are avoided while ensuring greater energy efficiency.

4. Thermal insulation

Thanks to the building system we use and, in particular, to the quality and thickness of the insulation we achieve energy efficiency and extraordinary thermal comfort. In a Passive House, the insulation is continuous and covers the entire thermal envelope of the building.

Energy loss through facades, glazing, floors and roofs is minimal. The thicknesses double or even triplicate the ones used in conventional houses to guarantee thermal comfort for the inhabitants of the house by maintaining temperatures around 20º C even on the walls’ surface. It is precisely this continuous insulation that “wraps” the whole building’s thermal envelope of the building that avoids air leaks. Therefore, all the conflictive points susceptible to air filtration are protected. The high-quality insulation contributes to the house’s energy efficiency by allowing you to keep your home at a constant temperature at the same time that contributes to greater acoustic insulation.

5. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery

The mechanical ventilation system in Passive Houses is a key factor to maintain the right temperature all year round. Ventilation avoids damp and mould problems, which is very useful to take care of the health of those who live in the house. In addition, this system improves durability of the building and prevents structural damage due to moisture build up by avoiding the houses’ degradation due to condensation, mould, etc.

The fact that you do not need to open the windows to ventilate is an advantage, especially during winter. Natural ventilation can be used during the whole night to dissipate the heat that has accumulated throughout the day (in the summer). The ventilation system works in a simple way. On the one hand, the system uses filters installed in the air inlets and outlets (located at strategic points in the house) to purify the air coming from outside before it enters the house. This guarantees genuinely clean indoor air.

On the other hand, depending on the season of the year, the system carries out a heat exchange between the air coming into the house from outside and the air inside the house in order to save energy to heat it up or to cool it down. For example, during winter, when the outside temperature is colder than the one inside the house, the system recovers the heat from the inside air before expelling it from the house and transfers this heat to the outside air so that it enters the house already heated. In summer, the system works the other way round: it recovers the cold from the indoor air and transfers it to the outdoor air so that it enters the house cooler.

NOT ALL HOUSES ARE THE SAME

A house to be proud of

We are increasingly aware of the dangers of climate change.
If we want to protect the environment, we need to find new and sustainable ways of doing things.

This forces us to reflect not only on how we live, but also where we live. Because one of the best decisions we can make to slow down climate change is to choose a house that has been specially designed and built to reduce energy consumption.

A Passive House is completely eco-friendly. Its design, based on energy efficiency, is able to reduce to a minimum the environmental impact because:

  • It uses low carbon building materials which are sustainably obtained.
    • It drastically reduces CO2 emissions due to its minimal energy consumption.

    By choosing a Passive House you not only reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but also your electricity bills.

    Therefore, we obtain a double benefit:

      • An economic one (given that there is a dramatic reduction in our electricity bill).
        • An ecological one (by contributing to the preservation of the planet).


        Often, the decision of choosing a Passive House is much simpler than all that. It is the logical result of asking yourself a question:

        Why building a traditional house when I can build instead a much more comfortable and healthier home which will save me money and will protect the environment and the future of those whom I love?

        Undoubtedly, choosing a Passive House is a smart and responsible decision and, above all, it is synonymous with a higher quality of life.

        You will be proud of having built a home like this, and so will be future generations.

        Which of these houses would you say is a Passive House?

        The truth is that all these houses are Passive Houses certified as Passivhaus. This variety of styles is due to the fact that this standard is not a style of construction. Although Passive Houses are subject to strict quality criteria, the concept itself is very flexible in relation to the style of the house. The standard does not demand any particular building style, so it can be adapted to pretty much any of them. So much so that, in countries such as Germany or Austria, hospitals, nurseries, university residences, sports facilities or even hotels are built following the Passivhaus standard..

        Although each building must be adapted to its particular climate, the standard fits perfectly with the different types of construction. So, it is possible to obtain all the benefits of a Passive House without compromising on design. Therefore, your house will be built totally according to your own preferences regarding style.

        If you wish, you will enjoy a home that is fully integrated with the beauty of the Majorcan landscapes with a genuine Majorcan flair and a truly Mediterranean architectural style.

        FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

        To save you time we have collected here the most frequently asked questions by our customers about Passive Houses. 

        Are all Passive Houses the same?

        Not really. It is crucial to make a distinction between Passive Houses and Passive Houses certified as Passivhaus.

        The Passivhaus standard is the strictest and fastest growing energy efficiency certification in the world. The secret of its success is very simple: the standard keeps its promises. Precisely because of this, houses that aspire to have this official certification have to meet the demanding criteria of the Passivhaus Institute. In other words, all Passivhaus houses are Passive Houses, but not all Passive Houses are certified as Passivhaus.

        This distinction is important, since the official certification guarantees that the house really meets the requirements of high energy efficiency. This results in certified houses having a higher value on the market.

        At Casal Mallorquí, we are experts in Passive Houses. We build Passive Houses certified by the Passivhaus Institute, so, if you wish, we can also build your house to obtain the official Passive House Certification too.

        Do they heat themselves?

        No, Passive Houses do not heat themselves. But they are carefully designed and built to ensure maximum retention of any generated heat inside the house. In other words, their insulation has the ability to retain as much heat or cold as possible for maximum comfort at minimum expense. Even though this makes it possible to heat the houses with a minimum of heat source, the heat still has to come from somewhere. And the same is true for cooling.

        Is it true you cannot open the windows in a Passive House?

        We are pleased to say that, no, this is not true. Of course, windows in Passive houses can be opened. But, in practice, this is not done often because, with a few exceptions, it is simply not necessary.

        The mechanical ventilation system completely renews and purifies the air in the house in two or three hours. So, the air that the inhabitants of the house end up breathing is of higher quality than the one outside the buildin.

        How much more does a Passive House cost?

        A Passive House saves 90% of heating and cooling costs. These savings compensate over time for the slightly higher initial upfront investment.

        Although the price of a house depends on many factors (the total area of the house, the building methods, qualities, number of rooms, etc.), the little investment difference of a new Passive House with respect to a conventional building can be estimated between 5-10% (in exchange for a lifetime energy saving and unparalleled thermal comfort) and this additional cost is usually amortized before 10 years.

        However, we must differentiate here between price and value. Although the construction price of a Passive House may be slightly higher, economically speaking, the fact that we obtain a home with unparalleled comfort is priceless regarding quality of life.

        If Passive Houses keep heat, is this construction standard appropriate for a warm place like Mallorca?

        The passive construction standard has proven to be very efficient, both in cold and warm climates.

        Passive Houses are equipped with a highly efficient double ventilation system that allows you to cool the interior air very easily. The fresh air collected from outdoors during the night passes directly into the house without being heated by the hot air that comes out of the house.

        The result is an ideal temperature even on the hottest days in Mallorca.

        What are Passive Houses made of?

        Passive Houses can be built with the same materials used to build traditional homes (cement, concrete and steel), with materials of natural origin such as wood or with a combination of both.

        At Casal Mallorquí, we adapt to the specific needs and preferences of every customer: to those who prefer to build their Passive House with traditional materials as well as to those who decide to build it with an envelope made entirely of wood. In both cases, the result is a cosy home with perfect insulation that favours the well-being of its occupants. The choice of materials does not condition the style of the Passive House or its energy efficiency.

        Once the house is finished, it is not possible to appreciate whether a Passive House has a wooden envelope or not (unless we decide to do so in order to make the design look warmer and cosy). In other words, the aesthetics of a Passive House built with a wooden envelope is no different from that of a Passive House built with conventional materials or even from that of a conventional house.

        But, yet, not all options are equal. Some of them are more environmentally friendly than others. In this sense, wood is, without a doubt, the best option. We cannot forget that wood is a 100% renewable and sustainable material, so its use reduces our ecological footprint, something that does not happen with other materials.

        How do Passive Houses maintain their temperature?

        The main sources of heat energy in Passive Houses are natural energies such as the sun, domestic appliances, artificial light and body heat. Factors such as the materials and thickness of the walls or the insulation of windows, floor and ceiling contribute to maintaining a constant temperature by preventing heat leaks from the interior to the exterior in winter or vice versa in summer.

        Do Passive Houses need air conditioning?

        Usually, it is not necessary. Passive Houses remove indoor heat through strategies that help to cool the house and prevent overheating.

        Some of them consist of orienting the house towards the south, using vegetation that helps to lower the temperature inside the house and planning external shaded areas, overhangs and solar protections such as pergolas, awnings, canopies, etc. to avoid direct solar radiation in summer.

        Moreover, the insulation and distribution of windows and doors are minutely studied to reduce the use of air conditioning as much as possible. Instead, it is possible to make use of cross ventilation at night during the summer months to maintain the optimal temperature in the house during the day.

        Why now is the best time to build a Passive House?

        Since December 31st 2020, it is compulsory for all new houses to be nearly-zero energy buildings. And, in the forthcoming years, the laws protecting the environment will be stricter and extended even to those houses that have already been built.

        In fact, in Germany, Belgium and Austria there are areas already where it is mandatory to build public buildings following this standard.

        Getting ahead and building today what will be the house of the future will save you the trouble of having to adapt your house, in a few years’ time, to the new legislation. So, this is an opportunity to save yourself a lot of time, money and inconvenience.

        Get inspired by watching our latest projects