What is a Passive House?
Global climate change is one of the largest environmental risks we face, and naturally, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the need to adapt and mitigate. According to Architecture 2030, buildings alone account for 39% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimates putting that number as high as 40 to 50% of annual global GHG emissions.
Passive house is a performance standard that requires the design team and the build team to collectively meet strict objectives to create a building that is extremely energy-efficient, highly sustainable, temperature balanced, and aesthetically pleasing, while maintaining superb indoor air quality.
Passive House Design can be broken down into 5 basic principles.
Proper insulation: Remember, code means minimum. When builders talk about building or insulating to “code”, it means they are insulating to the lowest possible standards to get by. The more we invest in our insulation the less we need to heat or cool.
No air leaks: Homes must be built airtight, no holes, and no way for air to infiltrate or leave building envelope. This is why many successful passive house projects are done by design-build firms.
No Thermal Bridges: This is a road for energy it creates a path of least resistance for heat transfer.
Proper Windows and Solar Orientation: Window must be triple pane, and be oriented to allow for heat gain in the winter months, and properly shade to prevent overheating in summer months.
ERV: An energy recovery ventilator will supply continuous fresh air into your house and exhaust indoor stale air while exchanging as much as 90% of the precondition energy.
Simply put, the philosophy of Passive House is based on energy conservation. The energy of the future will be the negawatt, or the watt that is not used.
For for information and an in-depth explanation of what a passive house is: check out Pete Deininger’s guide to sustainability @ https://www.thebrecklife.com/passive-house-sustainability-guide.php
Today’s homes are built like a hot pot; with a big central heating system and full of thermal bridges.
They are leaky and expensive to run
A Passive House is built like a thermos; A highly insulated envelope with no air leakage
They are comfortable and save you money!