SWISSPACER ULTIMATE spacer bars were recently chosen for use alongside smartwin windows at the new “Elmeskolan” Passivhaus school in the IKEA-dominated city of Älmhult, southern Sweden.
The two-storey building houses a traditional school, an English-speaking international school and an international kindergarten. The school educates a lot of children who have parents at the IKEA head office and so require international teaching.
The house is the largest school in Sweden that is built according to international Passivhaus standards. Älmhult’s council required a new low energy cost school to hold 800 children to accommodate the city’s rapid growth.
The windows used on the project were manufactured by Latvian company ‘i2 Factory’, part of the smartwin network – an association of 15 medium-sized windows manufacturers across 10 European countries. Inside the insulating glass, SWISSPACER ULTIMATE spacer bars were used to ensure maximum energy efficiency and a high level of thermal comfort.
A geothermal plant was built for warm water and heating; it uses 20 geothermal probes to warm the air for eight ventilation systems. Consequently, the building envelope has U-values of 0.06-0.13 W/m²K; the exterior walls are a sandwich construction of concrete and PIR insulation that is 255-295 mm thick.”
To improve the efficiency of the school further, A-rated efficient windows were required. architect and structural engineer Simone Kreutzer, from IG Passivhaus Sverige AB, explains: “For a Passivhaus in the cold Swedish climate, we need A-rated energy efficient windows. They don’t make those in Sweden,
smartwin windows are certified by the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt and are developed by the German company ‘pro Passivehausfenster GmbH’. With a reference size of 123 x 148 cm and a U-value of 0.62 W/m²K, windows are produced in 10 European countries by manufacturers in the smartwin network.
“We use thin frames to achieve greater solar gains,” says Franz Freundorfer of pro Passivhausfenster GmbH. The depth of the frame in wooden windows with aluminium profiles is over 106mm and it reduces to just 48mm with triple glazing and a warm edge spacer bar. “SWISSPACER spacer bars are our top choice. The Psi values of SWISSPACER ULTIMATE are the best in the world, they are durable and the sealant is not permeable to gas and water vapour,” stresses Freundorfer.
“SWISSPACER spacer bars can be used to keep the temperature on the inside at the edge of the glass 16-17°C – high enough that no condensation is formed. Passivhaus homes built according to the international standard are still uncommon in Sweden, but in schools and kindergartens there is currently a boom” adds Simone Kreutzer. Demand-based ventilation, as required in Passivhaus buildings, has been standard in Swedish buildings for 25 years now.
Simone continues: “Passivhaus buildings are designed to be more compact and functional. Therefore, the building costs are lower in particular when it comes to bigger buildings, as are the operating costs, with heat requirements reduced up to 75%.”
Different sized windows with colourful frames adorn the school’s exterior; on the inside it looks bright. This is thanks to the lighting concept, with the size and number of windows optimised in terms of their direction and use, and plenty of glass on the inside. Glass doors and elements in the walls, including between the classrooms, allow light to reach into the corners and corridors.
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