Passivhaus Affiliate

World's first Passivhaus Hospital

Hospitals are among the most energy-intensive of building types. Following new research published by the Passive House Institute on applying Passivhaus to Hospitals, Wörner Traxler Richter Architects plan the world's first in Frankfurt. An older hospital building is currently being replaced by a new build with a focus on maximum energy efficiency.  


Critical issues regarding the execution of this project were elaborated in a baseline study commissioned by the state of Hesse (in German). A compilation of the overall key results of this study is now available online on Passipedia.

Key details outlined by Passive House Institute:

PRIORITY USE: A hospital places specific demands on the building systems, with hygiene and well-being of patients and staff being the top priority.

ENERGY DEMAND: Even at a high level of energy performance, lighting, ventilation, hot water supply, heating, and cooling constitute the most energy intensive applications. Depending on the technical equipment used in the hospital, autoclaves, magnetic resonance tomography, and data processing can also contribute much to the total energy demand. In view of the complexity of the energy flows, consultation and involvement of all stakeholders at an early stage is essential.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Heating is only one of the many energy flows that exert influence. Efficient devices, whether in the form of lighting or medical equipment, not only save energy directly but also reduce the cooling demand at the same time. The conditions for large-scale energy efficiency measures in hospitals are favourable; with the available technology, the energy demand can be reduced significantly in most areas. 

ENERGY REDUCTION: Insulation measures are particularly worthwhile in hospitals on account of their high temperature requirements and almost continuous operation. Many areas in conventional hospitals are already equipped with ventilation technology, meaning that equipping the building with large scale controlled heat recovery ventilation is only a minimal addition. The baseline study shows that the heating demand can be limited to 15 kWh per square metre of useful space annually despite the higher indoor temperatures and average air exchange rates.

WASTE HEAT: As some of the processes in a hospital generate waste heat, it stands to reason that as much of this waste heat as possible should be made use of in other processes, for example, in the heating system by means of a heat pump. Nevertheless, as the results of the baseline study show, the priority should always be given to the optimisation of the processes generating this waste heat.


Further information:

Introductory articles on the topic of Passivhaus hospitals can now be found online in Passipedia.

27th August 2014


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