How Hungary's e4 house combines a zero energy balance with high comfort

e4 brick house hungary front view

Living today – fit for tomorrow

The first e4 brick house in Hungary fulfills all requirements of future living, meeting also the personal wishes of the family. Like all e4 houses, it combines high living comfort, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and affordable costs.

Saving energy with the building envelope

To ensure low energy consumption, the architect incorporated energy saving ideas in the basic concept. The building shape is very compact and the envelope is well insulated. The outer walls are made of 44 cm thick, highly insulating clay bricks. These provide low thermal conductivity to decrease heat losses and add heat storage mass to avoid overheating. The shape of the house provides natural shading for the big south-facing windows, which ensure solar gain in winter and shading in summer. For the pitched roof the Porotherm slab system was used instead of lightweight structures to increase the heat storage capacity.

Renewable energy sources

The house uses a heat pump, which extracts energy from the surrounding air, and the electricity needed to operate the heat pump is provided by PV panels. Combining surface heating (in this case underfloor heating and ceiling cooling) with the heat pump system is an efficient choice. That way, the building achieves a zero energy balance. Indoor comfort is improved by mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Additionally, a ground collector provides preheating of the supply air. As auxiliary heating, a chimney and air supply system were built in for a wood stove, which was a special request of the family living in the house.

Unique living quality at affordable costs

The architect rethought the way of living with a sustainable mentality. The high living room is connected to the upper floor, so that the living space is the heart of the house. By doing this, the architect achieved a more efficient utilisation of floor area in combination with very comfortable and welcoming interiors. The natural materials, such as clay bricks, help the house to breathe and so increase the indoor comfort along with the natural lighting.
 
With energy-efficient architectural features, sustainable heating and the high living comfort, the house is a good example of how the e4 concept can be adapted to individual needs.

Key Data and Material

Usable floor area: 147 m2
Primary energy consumption: 71 kWh/m²a
 
Masonry: Monolithic highly insulating masonry
Exterior walls: 44 cm Porotherm 44 Klima
U-value: 0.22 W/m²K

Building services & heating technology:

  • Air-to-water heat pump
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
  • Preheating of supply air with ground heat
  • Underfloor heating and ceiling cooling
  • Preparation for photovoltaic and auxiliary heating

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