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smartshell - trade skills combined with Passivhaus as the perfect synthesis

The key to constructing high quality, energy efficient buildings is a qualified and experienced building trade sector. A lot of knowledge has been accumulated regarding constructing energy efficient buildings. But the construction industry has not yet taken on board or applied this knowledge in many areas. Training as a certified Passive House tradesman will overcome this challenge.

Individual trades usually play a leading role in deciding insulation standards and selection of suitable materials to achieve those standards within their own trade sector. However, such compartmental thinking fails to deal with the energy challenges we face today. Without innovative thinking and close co-operation between all trades, we can’t provide true solutions to the inefficiency of buildings.          

As part of pro Passivhausfenster GmbH which was founded in 2010, the new smartshell co-operation connects the trade skills of constructing the external building envelope, ventilation and windows under one roof.

Right from the start, smartshell offers four Passive House certified wall and building systems! Covering a diverse range of construction methods, from lightweight timber frame, CLT panel, solid clay block and retrofit of existing buildings. The certification process gathers all the detailed knowledge required for each building method. With exact and clear descriptions for each trade, airtightness as well as wind resistance and thermal performance requirements become much clearer and therefore easier to achieve.

The cost efficiency of reducing energy consumption is very high due to energy costs having risen to such high levels. However, the perception by consumers and the building industry generally do not match reality. Exact energy cost calculations are rarely done. Categorised energy consumption as used in building regulations leads to incorrect assumptions about annual building energy costs. The same applies to life cycle costs. Poorly informed decisions and higher than anticipated energy consumption are common.

Utilising our in-house software module phquick, every tradesperson can guarantee annual energy usage for every project. Therefore the very first step of each smartshell project plan must be the calculation of key performance metrics through phquick!

The smartshell co-operation derives its strength from mutual trust and professional tradespeople working as a cohesive team. Regular meetings at each of the partner companies foster new ideas and share knowledge gained from solving practical issues on challenging projects. New solutions and improvements to existing systems flow from this collaborative process and get incorporated into documented construction details. These are available immediately to all partners through access to our internal website resources.

Development, testing and certification costs are spread across all smartshell co-operating partners over time. That allows even small companies to comply effectively with building standards and regulations and compete with tested and certified systems in a demanding market.

To ensure partners are successful operators in the target market, motivation to co-operate with others and proactively promoting Passive House standards in their region are key considerations for potential new partners.

smartshell is represented annually at the International Passive House conference to present and promote the latest innovations. The product family already consists of four systems:

•        smartshell solid for solid block construction methods

•        smartshell timber frame G and smartshell timber frame E for lightweight wood 

         construction methods

•        smartshel reno for retro fitting of existing buildings

Further step by step development will analyse and introduce more systems that make it much easier for construction professionals to use well documented, certified solutions.

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