Using Mechanical Ventilation & Heat Recovery in a Passivhaus Home

Specifying the right MVHR system for your highly insulated dwelling can be essential to meeting Passivhaus standards
by Build It
5th July 2017

When architect Bernard Tulkens of Tectonics Architects decided to self-build his own home in Hackney, East London, he was keen to create an energy efficient abode. However, surrounding buildings overshadowed the tight site rendering it impossible to benefit from southern sunlight, which reduced the possibility of passive heat gain.

Bernard worked with Peter Ranken from Accredited Passivhaus Design to come up with a solution. They employed Green Building Store to design and supply a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) system for the scheme. This unit was critical in creating an overall setup that met the Passivhaus standards that Bernard aspired to.

Find out more about Passivhaus design »

Urban Passivhaus with mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR)

This zinc-clad Passivhaus features MVHR to provide fresh air and recycle heat

“The Novus 300 unit was the only MVHR system that offered the efficiency needed for Passivhaus certification. Its quiet operation was also a benefit, as it’s located in a cupboard off the main living space,” says Peter. “I was initially concerned about the noise of the system but that proved not to be an issue,” adds Bernard. “The setup is very quiet – we can’t hear it at all.”

Medium to large PAUL Novus 300 systems are suitable for floor areas between 40-300m2 and offer a heat recovery rate of 94.4% at 145m3/h. The unit in this project utilises rigid spiral-bound steel ducting, which has been left exposed to suit the industrial-style decor.

Learn more about MVHR »

MVHR unit in a utility cupboard

The MVHR unit is neatly disguised behind a faux kitchen cupboard

“The MVHR system is very easy to operate and maintain, plus the air quality is fantastic,” says Bernard. “The blueprints by Green Building Store’s MVHR Design Service were well thought through, well organised and made a lot of sense.”

The finished property’s impressive energy-efficiency credentials led to it winning the Urban category at this year’s UK Passivhaus Awards.

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