Three critical issues that our world faces today are energy conservation, global warming and the need for more quality housing. The solutions to these issues, however, do not always seem to fall neatly in line: How can we decrease carbon dioxide emissions and reduce energy use in existing homes, whilst simultaneously dealing with increased energy demand and emissions due to the growing overall number of homes?
Insulating a normal building with polyurethane will go a long way in reducing its carbon emissions but increasingly better technology and increased use of polyurethanes is leading new architectural and environmental heights. A concept born in Northern Europe for energy-saving construction – the passive house – was designed as a solution to the problems of increase energy demand and energy efficiency. Passive houses are a type of “low-energy” building, also dubbed “eco” or “green” building. They are buildings designed to provide a comfortable indoor climate in winter without the need for a conventional heating system. In order for housing to create this environment and therefore live up to passive house standards, they must therefore boast dramatic reductions in energy consumption and zero carbon emissions.