[ISOVER BLOG] The international Isover Multi-Comfort House competition is now in its seventh year and universities from the UK have been participating in this since 2009
This year, we have received 32 entries from universities across the country. Each year, the competition requires entrants to design a building in accordance with Isover Multi-Comfort principles, encompassing Passive House components. The UK competition is open to students of all architectural universities offering RIBA accredited degree or masters courses, with entrants invited to participate in teams of up to three members.
This year, competitors are required to design a tall building to be located in the Greenwich South district of Lower Manhattan. The design brief calls for a highly mixed-use tower accommodating office space, residential units, a student hotel, a fashion hotel and significant public and community facilities.
Passive House and the Isover Multi-Comfort House concept
The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard for buildings
The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard for buildings. It was developed out of the belief that the most inexpensive end environmentally friendly energy is that which is not consumed in the first place, and therefore uses minimal energy for space heating or cooling. A house built to Passive House standards can eliminate up to 90 per cent of traditional household energy costs and, in winter, it is entirely possible to heat a room of 20m² with just ten tea lights or two 100 watt bulbs.
The Isover Multi-Comfort House concept illustrates how energy use can be minimised and demonstrates how energy efficient living can be achieved both comfortably and economically. It builds on the Passive House principles of delivering the highest thermal comfort while reducing energy use and CO2 emissions by considering occupants’ wellbeing, taking into account acoustic and safety features, indoor air quality and energy saving measures.
In a Saint-Gobain Isover Multi-Comfort House optimal room temperatures of between 20 and 23˚C are maintained all year round with minimal use of active heating. Through the use of super-efficient insulation and a virtually air-tight building envelope, heat loss is minimised; while passive solar gain and heat sources within the building, including body heat and thermal discharge from household appliances, create warmth.
This means that the energy demands of an Isover Multi-Comfort House can be as low as 1.5 litres of heating oil or 15kWh per square metre per year for a typical one-family house, compared with 30 litres of heating oil or 300kWh per square meter per year for a completely insufficiently insulated home. Similarly C02 emissions can also be significantly reduced from 60kg per square meter per year to just 2kg. The Isover Multi-Comfort House concept can be applied to any building style and is suitable for use in both new and retrofit construction.To ensure that the building does not become overheated, superfluous heat gain is prevented by shading the windows, and a Comfort Ventilation System provides a permanent flow of filtered fresh air, while heat distribution and heat recovery takes place throughout the entire building.
Due to the high quality of the individual components specified for a Multi-Comfort building, the construction costs can typically be five to eight per cent higher than for standard houses. However, as soon as ongoing expenses such as operation, maintenance and repair are factored in, the additional building costs can be recouped in just a couple of years. With the cost differences set to diminish as the demand increases, and energy costs set to rise substantially, Multi-Comfort Houses are set to become the low-cost alternatives of the future. In addition, the resulting reductions in emissions, energy consumption and dependence on finite natural resources make a valuable contribution to tackling climate change.
For more information on the Isover Multi-Comfort House concept please visit www.multicomforthouse.co.uk.