Airtightness

Airtightness

Airtightness often appears to be the most difficult element to achieve in Passivhaus projects, yet once a robust airtight design is in place, delivery is primarily about rigor and attention to detail.

Deciding what sealing products and processes are required to deliver the target airtightness leads to the development of a formal air barrier strategy. For clarity and ease of communication, we suggest that this is summarised in the manner...

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As well as the calibrated test equipment used in measuring the airflow through the building, there is a range of ancillary equipment that a testing organisation will probably use when testing a building, and particularly when investigating...

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When carrying out an airtightness test, a steady-state condition is established, when the air blown out of the building by the fan is balanced by the air re-entering the building through various cracks, gaps and openings. Typically this is at a...

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The Passivhaus airtightness target is < 0.6 ACH-1 @ 50 Pa for newbuild projects and < 1.0 ACH-1 @ 50 Pa for EnerPHit refurbishment projects. This compares with UK Building Regulations, where a maximum air...

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Don't
Allow the construction program to override quality requirements – remedying airtightness defects at the end of a build can be disruptive, costly and significantly delay completion.
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Calculate air changes using the ATTMA volume; the PHI institute has much more detailed calculation requirements and the resulting volume can be 20% smaller, making it harder to pass the airtightness test
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Assume that something is sealed – always check
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Do
For a Passivhaus or EnerPHit acceptance test, the building must be finished, no temporary sealing, other than to exclude the ventilation system, is permitted.
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Pressurisation and depressurisation testing must be carried out and the results averaged
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The airtightness testing organisation must be acceptable to the certifying body
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Appoint or nominate a quality assurance and airtightness champion
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Develop a formal air barrier strategy
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The air tightness testing protocol is NOT the same for Passivhaus Certification as it is for UK Building Regulations compliance.

This document sets out guidance for the specific testing requirements for Passivhaus and EnerPHit certification. Prior to any testing, familiarity with the...

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