The PassivHaus or “Passive House” energy performance standard was developed in Germany in the 1990s. The city of Leipzig adopted the standard in 2008 for all new public construction. The city’s first compliant building, the Erich Kästner Primary School was built in 2009 by the architects at Planungsbüro Rohling AG Architekten + Ingenieure (pbr).
The two primary buildings, a three-story school and a sports hall/gymnasium, are linked by an after school structure. With its occupants in mind, the building utilizes a series of playful yet functional elements including interior circular window openings that allow views from the library and computer room to the centralized foyer. Additionally, the building features circular roof lights to allow natural light to penetrate the interior. The green and white minimalistic color palette travels from the exterior thru the interior of the school.
In compliance with the Passive House Standard, the façade was insulated and enveloped in Cream White Alucobond Plus aluminum composite panels. Interspersed between the full and abundant window treatments, the white aluminum composite panels are semi-reflective, picking up the green hues of the expanded metal shutters. The green louvers are adjustable and serve as the building’s sunshades to regulate the structure’s solar intake.
The architects explain, “Exhaust air transfers 80% of its thermal content to incoming fresh air with the help of a highly efficient rotation heat exchanger. The entire building has been enclosed air-tight in order to ensure that the heat generated does not escape.” They further describe, “The very compact design of the new building, the sinking into the ground of the sports hall, the construction in reinforced concrete and the care taken in the implementation of the services to meet building physics requirements lead to the required air-tightness.”
The energy efficiency guidelines initiated by the Passive House Standards ensure all new construction abides by good ecological principles, ideal for an educational environment where the building houses the young people who will benefit most from our sustainable practices.
information courtesy of pbr
photography courtesy of © Michael Moser