Years ago, understanding a home’s energy efficiency may have seemed like more of a niche. However this trend is picking up momentum, with a survey late last year revealing 68% of consumers find the energy rating of a home important.

With this demand on the rise, developers and builders are looking for more energy-efficient approaches. This has only increased with upcoming energy efficiency requirements as part of the National Construction Code. Applicable to new builds from 1 May 2024, the Code will require a seven star energy efficient standard and a whole-of-home rating of 60 NatHERS or more.

To ensure compliance and meet consumer needs, many are looking towards Passivhaus approaches and structured insulated panel systems (SIPs) as a solution.

While in theory, these eco-friendly methods seem to work in harmony, one question usually comes to mind – for builders, homeowners and developers alike: How will this impact the home’s durability and longevity?

Passivhaus: Passive design, but not by approach

Like any new design approach, there can be scepticism that it will come and go. However, Passivhaus isn’t the new kid on the construction block. In fact, it was developed in Germany more than 40 years ago. Now, Passivhaus (or passive house) design principles have been adopted globally by environmentally focused homeowners and investors alike.

Its energy-efficient design principles are not the only reason it’s growing in popularity. With a focus on healthy living and aesthetics designed to appeal for a home's lifetime, it’s beginning to appeal to more than those looking for ‘greener’ options.

With more extreme weather conditions and the rising cost of living, Passivhaus’ ability to maintain comfortable interior temperatures - without active heating and cooling - is catching consumers' interest. The flexible and adaptable design also brings with it health benefits, focusing on building designs that positively impact our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Resilient design meets resilient materials: SIPs and Passivhaus, the ultimate match

The high-performance building system of SIPs is not only more cost-effective, it’s built to last and withstand extreme climate and weather conditions.

Comparing it to a more conventional timber frame structure, using materials such as Evissa SIPs can be up to seven times stronger. It’s also 50% more energy-efficient than its traditional timber cousin. Better yet, SIPs installed and maintained correctly will last the lifetime of the home (or an average of 50 years) if delivered to recommended building physics principles.

Focused on energy efficiency and resilience, it’s no surprise more and more homes are utilising SIPs to achieve Passivhaus designs and increase a build’s lifespan. More airtight and structurally robust, SIP insulation technology can be used for everything from walls to roofs and floors. These prefabricated panels not only add additional strength but increase the energy efficiency and durability of the building.

This flexibility of application doesn’t just mean a faster build but can:

  • Decrease labour construction costs

  • Minimise thermal bridging

  • Greatly improve air-sealing capabilities

  • Reduce energy loss and noise pollution

Companies like Evissa are also taking it one step further, combining Passivhaus consultancy, architectural services and building physics diagnostics to advise on not only the materials and design but all stages of the project and certification process. For construction groups and developers entering into the Passivhaus game, having experts in your pocket can make sure you're investing in the right areas.

Built with the longevity in mind

Combining the durability of SIPs with the longevity of Passivhaus design, builders, developers, and homeowners alike not only get a more sustainable product but a better long-term investment.

As well as being stronger than more traditional materials, SIPs can handle more extreme conditions, including earthquakes, load capacities and wind loads.

While being able to withstand more is appealing for our harsh Australian environment, homes built with SIPs can last up to 20 years longer than their traditional timber counterparts. The result? Less time and money lost to maintenance and upkeep over the long-term.

However, the appeal isn’t just to the reduced wear and tear, with research showing seven out of ten Australians believe energy efficiency is a way to increase property value. With 10.2 million people holding investments Australia wide alone, the demand for more energy-efficient materials and build options will only increase over time.

Looking into SIPs and Passivhaus design for your next build?

Chat with our friendly team to start your journey. With Passivhaus experts on hand as well as manufacturing and installation services, we’ll help you meet your energy-efficiency goals.

Learn about : Combining Passivhaus & Evissa SIPs for Energy Efficiency