PASSIVE HOUSE 'Sky Garden' /

First Award

status / competition design 2013
design / Liliana Krzycka, Rafal Pieszko, Adam Baczewski

single family house

„MURATOR” competition

Award of the Association of Architects of Poland
- Regional Architecture Review

logo energy efficient home award murator

Passive house 'Sky Garden' has been awarded first prize and the title of Energy Efficient Home of the Year at International Construction Fair BUDMA 2013 in Poznan, Poland. This competition for energy efficient design is organized by the publishing agency "Murator" and the objective was to design "a beautiful and functional, 150m2 single-family detached house, where the energy demand for heating and ventilation is no more than 40kWh per m2 per year and construction costs are not exceeding 500K zlotych."

passive house with diffrrent facade materials

view from the street showing variations of the facade materials

/// IDEA
The main design challange was to create a compact single family house, which could become an attractive alternative to the Polish model of a family home bought from a cataloge. In addition to energy-efficiency, the house will be cheap and easy to build and will pay attention to the aspect of living in a space co-created in harmony with nature - a home respecting the principles of sustainable development.

passive house axonometry diagram

Plan of the house 10x10m square helps to locate it on small plots of land, and thus provides an alternative to complex house plans. The proposed house and site layout can be duplicated in a terrace arrangment. This is an interesting proposal to clean up the street frontage of the city fabric, which often gets out of control in many polish cities. The proposed frontage with green area, garage, and bicycle and bins storage, ensures architectural coherence and the possibility of individual identification.

passive house terrace

houses in a terrace - 3 x passiv

The aim of the design was to create a house that in addition to passive energy use, will provide additional space for work and leisure to residents and will give the opportunity to create an oasis of greenery with all year round garden to grow flowers, vegetables and fruits. Garden can also serve the function of a dining room, an additional "green" living room or studio, games room and children's playground. It could become the place of meditation among greenery present all year round.

passive house summer winter

SUMMER: winter garden casing open, with an excess of sunlight window sliding panels can be closed. WINTER: winter garden casing closed, open sliding window panels for increased penetration of sunlight into the interior.

passive house comparing the location of the winter garden

comparing the location of the winter garden: thermal buffer in winter, chilling in summer

Integration of the winter garden with the shape of the house, decrease the space heating demand. Our solution reduces the number of partitions of the garden structure and the house, which in other ways would be exposed to the weather conditions (no need to build an insulated floors under free-standing winter garden, the area of ​​the roof of the proposed house is reduced). In the autumn-winter period, a winter garden integrated with the body of a house have a positive effect on energy balance, through so-called greenhouse effect. It acts as a thermal buffer using a natural source of energy - the sun's rays.

passive house view of the winter garden

view of the winter garden - 'Sky Garden'

Winter garden integrated into the body of the house and adjacent to the north wall and ceiling of the house, provides a kind of energy symbiosis between the house and the garden: in winter it collects and stores the heat, in summer it prevents from overheating the building. In summer, the temperature inside the winter garden which is well planted, will be average 2°C lower than the outside temperature. This is caused by the evaporation of water from plants and thanks to openable panels which provide ventilation. Winter garden is an additional barrier against the winds from the north and reduces street noise coming to your house. In addition, built-in openable window at roof garden level helps natural ventilation in summer (the chimney effect).

passive house PHPP simulation winter garden

graph illustrating reduction of space heat demand due to presence of a winter garden in the overall energy balance *PHPP 2007 simulations

SPACE HEATING DEMAND: 14.2[kwh/m2rok] to 12.4[kwh/m2rok]

In winter the temperature remains between 5°-15°C in the unheated garden. The use of heated garden (solar panels) provides a temperature that does not fall below 10°C and it is usally maintained at 15°-20°C. The heat from the solar panel is stored in a ceramic storage heater. At night, heat collected during the day radiates into the interior and provides a comfortable temperature. For our calculations we adopted the most unfavorable situation for garden use, assuming 0.9 as the temperature reduction factor for the calculation of heat loss through the compartment adjacent to the conservatory. This translates into a few percent savings in overall energy demand. However, performed simulations show that in most cases, the savings are much higher, ranging from 10-15%.

The adopted solution is designed to encourage inhabitants to use and take care of the winter garden. The more work home owners put in the proper use of the garden, the greater the savings in energy consumption for heating, as well as the benefits of using produce from year-round garden.

passive house floor plans

floor plans

passive house view during the day

view from the garden

/// FORM
A simple and modern form of a truncated cube is an attractive alternative to the typical form of a house. Simple pent roof oriented to the south side support operation of solar collectors and rainwater collecting. Exterior plan dimensions 10x10m reflects energy saving strategy. Located on the roof garden with slatted north wall, breaks down the weight of the facade, creating a levitating lush gardens visible from the street. Simple layout makes it easy to adjust the interior for disabled person. Sliding panels used on the facades, in addition to policy of controlling privacy has the important task of regulating energy balance of the house. Panels are important protection against excessive exposure to sunlight in the summer, which can lead to overheating of the building. In addition, panels provide protection from the wind and regulate the intensity of ventilation while windows are open.

passive house living room view

living room view

Adopted timber frame technology is very environmentally friendly solution because it uses natural material, such as wood. Sourced from a renewable resource, the forest, the wood has to be treated appropriately to maintain high quality. The advantage of the wooden structure is also a short construction time, which reduces the costs of construction. Specially designed accumulation floor increases thermal mass of the building and adjusts accordingly the internal temperature in the summer and winter.

passive house night view

night view from the garden

The project introduces a number of ecological solutions such as:

/ natural materials: the proposed materials are natural, durable, weather resistant and easy to clean;

/ solar collectors: installation of solar panels on the roof reduces costs associated with water heating, and also supports operation of the storage heating system for the winter garden, which significantly improves the energy balance of the house;

/ natural lighting: appropriately designed large glass panes impact on reducing the power consumption for overhead lighting;

/ energy-efficient lighting and appliances: controlling the energy consumption through the use of low-energy devices and intelligent control technology;

/ heat recovery: a mechanical ventilation system comprises a central high efficient MHRV unit. The system will recover up to 95% of the heat usually lost in the process of normal ventilation with air handling unit and no heat recovery. Supply air and exhaust air passes through two cross-exchangers where heat is transferred/recovered;

/ natural ventilation in summer: use of natural ventilation for ventilating and cooling house in summer;

/ greenery: the greneery pots placed on the roof increase the amount of green in the city, absorb water and provide the ability to change the image of the building during the year through the use of various plant compositions like flowers, shrubs or ivy;

/ rainwater harvesting: collecting rainwater for utility purposes.

passive house section


Management of storm water is a key element of the ecological and economic way of life. Collected water can be used for watering lawns and garden around the house, watering the plants in the winter garden, washing the car, and toilet flushing, washing, cleaning. Protection of the environment and its resources is our duty, especially when the cost of cubic of drinking water, increasing from year to year. In Poland, the average annual rainfall is 500 mm per square meter. To recover some of this water, you need to use the roof of the house and the tank. In the proposed system, rainwater from the roof flows into the underground reservoir located below ground level next to the house. A second reservoir fitted at high level allows to supply water throughout the system using just the gravity. In this case, the possible failure of the pump will be less dramatic and less urgent to fix. This system also uses less electricity. Such system allows to reduce potable water consumption by up to half!

passive house view from the garden

view from the garden