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LUIS A. MARTÍNEZ, Partner and Training Manager PASSIVHAUS home | see all news
"Windows are an essential element of Passivhaus"
LUIS A. MARTÍNEZ, Partner and Training Manager PASSIVHAUS

For some years now, the Passivhaus concept has gradually become part of the nomenclature of the construction sector. What is Passivhaus and when we can say that a building, a home, is a Passivhaus?

Well, strictly speaking, if we are talking about the criteria that set the Passivhaus standard, any building that meets the criteria can be referred to as such. This must be verifiable, which isn’t all that easy. Then there are the reasons why the concept is gaining ground. Here, the analysis is much more varied and provides a very valuable, up-to date snapshot of the industry. Generally speaking, a reliable guide is the building’s route towards nearly zero consumption. Also as a warning of possible fraudulent use, the terms "passive" and "passive house" should not be interpreted freely.


The Passivhaus standard is 25 years old in Germany. How common is it in Spain and what can be done to increase its presence? Will it eventually prevail?

Nobody is trying to win a race. Each professional, company, institution, developer, manufacturer, builder or user who is interested in this, takes its own path and adapts it to its own needs. Those who are certain or who display a more innovative profile, so to speak, understand what it means to the positioning of their businesses and, naturally, they want it for themselves. It is growing exponentially in Spain, quietly,you might say, but with direct capillarity in the reality, without fanfares. In April, during the Annual International Passivhaus Conference in Germany, there were participants from all over the world and the rooms were full. We saw global convergence in concerns about building, planning, mobility and energy, and, naturally for human beings to ask about their lives, in projects we presented and in the international panel discussion we moderated.


What is the role of windows in the Passivhaus standard and what potential does the consolidation of this standard offer to the development of the sector?

Good news for “window people”. Windowsare an element that integrates practically everything that the standard has to offer in terms of energy performance, comfort, light, tightness, etc. This means that you cannot skimp on the budget allocated to enclosures. This, in turn, forces the industry to developthe product and its manufacturing, providetechnical training for professionals and communication and marketing. Parts of windows that go unnoticed, such as hinges, are now the focus of attention. It is a real competitive update.


During Veteco the 'Companies committed to Passivhaus' consortium will organise a series of workshops to disseminate the concepts and keys of Passivhaus among builders and window professionals. What will happen at these workshops and who is able to attend?

We will invite everyone who enrols, absolutely everyone, and this isn’trestricted to visitors to Veteco. Everyone involved in the ePower&Building trade fair is invited. Veteco Solar, Construtec, Urbótica, Piedra, BIM, Matelec, etc. We have taken this into consideration when organising the workshops. In two hours and in small groups, with demonstrations of real cases and practices, participants will get a very clear idea of what almost zero consumption buildings are and their impact. They’ll do it themselves! They’ll make their own minds up, too.


FormaciónPassivhaus is a member of this consortium. What does it do, what are its objectives and what kind of official certificates do professionals attending the courses receive?

We were Passivhaus pioneers in Spain as an architectural studio (VandArquitectura) or consultancy. The training started as a pure necessity because nobody knew how to build Passivhaus projects in 2009 or 2010. It was a desperate situation. So we did something about it and, nowadays FormaciónPassivhaus offers all official training forPassivehausInstitut for projects and for construction. We are also official Passivhaus building certifiers.  Those who attend our courses are in the hands of Passivhausexperts with proven experience. We are officially certified by the PassivhausInstitut and we are getting ready for the arrival of the almost zero consumption building.


Is there a lot to do in Spain in terms of Passivhaus? What opportunities does Passivhaus offer the building sector?

Two months ago, The Lancet, one of the world’s most important medical journals, published an article entitled "Our health is a function of the place where we live". The standard contributes something decisive: health, air quality, constant temperature, hygiene, comfort and welfare. A small part of the construction sector already offers this to users in new builds and refurbishments, and there are many people who, in their purchasing decisions, appreciate that their homes or offices can look after them and who flee from at least part of the building experience of the last ten years. It’s a new product, a new segment. Whether its 850 or €2500 per m2.