What is low consumption heating?

What heating system to install in a passive house in Barcelona?

How much?

Here we show you the basics of low-consumption heating systems for very efficient houses and passive houses in Barcelona.

In case you still don’t know us, let me introduce our studio: we’re ERA architects.
Actually, I’m Esther Rovira, an architect in Barcelona and a passive house designer for new sustainable builds and big green renovations in Barcelona and Catalonia.
In this post you’ll find all the essentials from our professional point of view.
I hope this helps you!


What is low consumption heating?
Heating is the set of devices that form a system and serve to heat a place.
In the case of the almost zero consumption house or passive house, the heating demand must be equal to or less than 15 kWh/m2a.
This means that the energy that heats the house must be similar to that of a hair fan.


Low consumption heating and efficient house or passive house
This is only possible if the building has a good layer of insulation, is well sealed and has no thermal bridges.
In other words, the construction does not let the heat generated inside escape.
This type of building is defined as passive construction.


Low consumption heating systems
Attention in this post I tell you about low consumption heating systems for passive houses with the maximum energy demand in heating of 15kwh/m2a.
This is our list of energy efficient heating systems from cheapest to most expensive.

Electric resistance
It is an electrical resistance connected to the drive of the controlled mechanical ventilation.
It is a logical, simple and economical option for the passive house (also the most similar to a hair heater 😉
The electrical resistance heats the air before propelling it into the passive house.

Condensing boiler (gas or oil)
The most widespread option in Spain.
Combines water heating and heating.
Spanish regulations require the ventilation of the boiler through a grille and this can be a problem for the passive house since it needs to be completely sealed.
We are also linked to the price of gas, so it is an uncertain long-term option.

Heat pump or Aerotermia
Highly recommended for cold climates in winter and hot in summer (because it can also blow cold air).

Ideal for cold and mountain climates with cool summers.
For a passive house it is very important to choose a certified machine since the passive house needs to have a good seal and be airtight from the outside.
The chimney connects with the outside and is still a weak point in the passive house.

Compact machine or Aerotermia with DHW
Undoubtedly a great option as it includes double-flow controlled mechanical ventilation and the water heating system.
Its disadvantage is the high cost and its large dimensions that make it necessary to have a good acoustically isolated installation room.

The most ecological and the most expensive of all the options.
This option combines the heat pump with underground ducting to take the temperature below ground which is cool in the summer and hot in the winter.
A large part of the clients who come up with this idea end up rejecting it.


Our professional recommendation:

In our Architecture studio in Barcelona, ​​we recommend making efficient houses with almost zero consumption with a double-flow controlled mechanical ventilation system with an electrical resistance connected to renewable sources following the passive house criteria defined by the Passive House Institute.


Hope this is helpful!
Best of luck on this adventure.
See you on the next post,


Founder of ERA architects 

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