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Photos: Tecto Arhitectura

Passive House Che, Suceava, Romania On this project, the challenge for Bucharestbased Tecto Architects was to create a simple, sustainable, two-storey home on a rather special site: a mature forest within the city of Suceava, in northern Romania. Naturally for a passive house, the building’s form and orientation are designed to maximise daylight and solar gain through south-facing orientation. Siting the house on an elevated slope helped to achieve this, and to provide views over the forest. To match its surroundings, the house is clad externally with cedar slates, while a green roof helps to recover the natural surface displaced when the house was built. The design of the house is based around a central glazed courtyard, allowing the building to communicate with its natural environment. This glazed core incorporates the stairs, hallways, and according to the architects, “spaces where one can feel outside although inside�. The timber frame walls are insulated with cellulose and woodfibre board, and protected with intelligent vapour membranes. The client chose not to have the house certified by the Passive House Institute, but it seems to tick all the right boxes: it was designed with PHPP,

has a space heating demand of 14 kWh/m2/yr, and airtightness of 0.4 ACH. A small gas boiler distributes heat to radiant underfloor and wall heating panels, while the sitting room also has a standalone wood chip stove. As well as mechanical heat recovery

ventilation, the house also has an earth-to-air heat exchanger that draws on the free constant temperature of the ground throughout the year, cooling incoming air in summer, and preheating it in winter. The owners are planning to put in a solar PV system to generate their own electricity too. 

Profile for Passive House Plus (Sustainable Building)

Passive house plus issue 10 (UK edition)  

Passive house plus issue 10 (UK edition)