The Value in a Passive House

The Value in a Passive House

“How much more does it cost to build a passive house then a conventional house?” 

This is the first question that everyone asks, and while I don’t believe that it is the right question,  it is still a good question. First, It is way too basic of a question, and second, just like you wouldn’t compare a Tesla to Kia, you cannot compare a Passive house to a standard home.

The simple answer is, a passive house will be more expensive to design and more expensive to build than a standard house why?...because a Tesla cost more to build than a Kia, we all understand that concept.  Generally, most passive house builders think construction costs are between 10 and 15 percent more than a conventional home; you can check out some passive house case studies at the phius website:

The question I would ask is what has more value a conventionally built home or a passive home. Let’s take a look at the costs, when building a 3000 square foot home, and let’s assume new construction costs are around $250.00 per square foot.

Conventional Home:

Cost of Land  $250,000.00

Cost of New Construction =3000 sq ft X $250.00= $750,000.00

Total Cost  $1,000,000.00

30 Year Mortgage (%20 down) @4% ($200,000.00) $800,000.00 or $3820.00/month 

Utilities (Heat and Electric) Approx 500.00/month

Total Cost/month $4320.00

Passive House:

Cost of Land  $250,000.00

Cost of New Construction =3000 sq ft X $250.00*15%= $862,500.00

Total $1,112,500.00

30 Year Mortgage (%20 down) @4% ($225,500.00) $890,000.00 or $4250.00/month 

Utilities (Heat and Electric) Approx 90% savings $100.00/month

Total Cost/month $4350.00

If we compare the 2 projects and look at your monthly costs, a passive house, is virtually break even at the  beginning (with a slightly larger down payment) and grows more valuable over time...add some solar panels and you could easily spin that meter backwards!

If you haven’t read my blog post about “building to code” please take a look.  If we recognize the fact that a code built house is built to the minimum standards it takes to get by, versus a passive home being built to rigorous and measurable standards,  you can immediately see the additional value of the passive house...It’s a Tesla not a Kia. If I had to speculate, looking down the road 10, 20, maybe 30 years, I don’t think the new generation of buyers are going to have much interest in buying a home that burns fossil fuels --their cars won’t, so why would their homes?

What is the true value of a passive house? 





Increased comfort? 

Better Indoor air quality?  

Reducing your carbon footprint? 

Eliminating the need to burn fossil fuels?

A solution to climate change?


By Michael Black CHPC®