Timber frame houses

Low-energy and passive houses

The development in construction materials has been orienting increasingly towards natural and environmentally sound materials. The production of materials like wood fibre, cellulose, hemp and clay roofing tiles does not burden the environment, which also applies to their disposal. Considering the findings in construction biology on the compatibility of diverse materials, we have developed an advanced construction technique that is quick, economical and ecological. Modern buildings enable a healthy living in a healthy microclimate zone, energy economy, earthquake safety and thus altogether a higher standard of living. Based on the new programme and new technology, Damahaus houses seek to revive timber frame construction in Slovenia.

Based on their design timber frame houses offer:

  • healthy living environment
  • well-being
  • cost-efficiency
  • construction according to customer's wishes
  • high degree of self-sufficiency

The main features of such construction comprise:

  1. Diffusion Open – the houses are diffusion-open, meaning that the walls and the roof are constructed so as to enable the exchange of vapour in the room with the environment and vice versa. It is of key importance to use vapour barriers instead of vapour locks. The house is thus enabled to “breathe” as excess moisture is eliminated from the room when the air is moist and returned when it's dry. By making the house breathe we ensure a nice living climate, which results in a sense of comfort.
  2. Structural strength -when designing a house, great attention is paid to the structure enabling us to clad the house with structurally unstable materials the design of which is vapour permeable, thus enabling the house to breathe. Based on the structural design, the attic floor is clad in traditional concrete flooring. This ensures perfect stability and the required accumulation of heat. The structure is bound the traditional way that has been used for over three hundred years (Tyrol, double hayrack).
  3. Fire resistance – sufficient fire resistance is ensured by protecting all insulation with boron salt, which prevents any combustion. The walls are clad in plasterboard panels to ensure appropriate fire resistance of the wall. The ground floor and attic ceiling are also furnished with fire-resistant plasterboard panels.
  4. Thermal conductivity - the houses boast very low thermal conductivity of outer walls and the attic ceiling; U=0.15 W/m2K. Thermal conductivity of the glass used in windows normally amounts to U = 0.6 W/m2K. The trunking system is fully thermally insulated. The thickness of the insulation layer can be increased both for walls and the roof. Heat losses are further prevented by high air-tightness, which is measured using the Blower door test. The daily air change rates of our houses range between 0.7 and 1.5. There is no need for forced ventilation in case of such change rates.
  5. The roof – featuring double-skin roofing and a ventilation layer. Secondary roofing is used apart from the clay roofing, which in our case is the DWD wood fibre board. The board is walkable, waterproof and noise-proof, resistant to wood parasite and persistent, at the same time featuring excellent permeability for vapour.
  6. Energy economy and degradability – in low-energy houses heating is most often based on natural gas or heat pumps. Another option is to install photovoltaic cells, which are able to generate enough electricity for our purposes. If the site ensures enough solar radiation, the energy generated may be sold to the electricity utility at a guaranteed subsidized rate, and the energy to be used is acquired through grid electricity. All the materials used are biodegradable. Using recuperators, our passive houses are ensured heating, cooling and forced ventilation with electricity costs kept as low as possible.

In comparison to already established type of construction, competitive advantage is ensured by:

  • solid timber frame construction,
  • use of natural materials,
  • the house that “breathes”
  • individuality and transparency in construction
  • unrestrained design
  • quick construction – the timber frame is assembled in only 3 working days
  • the costs are comparable to masonry construction
  • low costs of living
  • demolition of the building doesn't burden the environment

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of ecological construction and biodegradable materials, therefore they opt more often for such construction. Energy economy represents an important cost factor in household budgets. The quality of living has been gaining in importance, and it can only be ensured in a “house that breathes”. And what is most important, the total price of low-energy houses is not considerably higher than the traditional modular houses or traditional masonry buildings.

Current situation on the Slovenian market

In Slovenia, in total around 6000 buildings are constructed annually, the majority being traditional masonry buildings (brick, iron, concrete). Prefabricated wooden houses represents about 15%, as its advantages are also accompanied by some disadvantages (standard design, high costs of design adaptation, average energy performance...).

In case of timber frame building that somehow comprises all the positive aspects of both traditional and modular construction, the demand has been growing fast in Slovenia. The growth trend coincides with the raised general awareness of the necessity of using energy rationally (finance, environment). Low energy objects have been covered across the whole span of domestic media. The system has been established for years in Germany, Austria and northern Italy, yet the sales have been growing for about 20%.