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Today on the Green Conscience blog, I'd like to discuss one of the coolest ways to build or renovate your home, quite literally: passive house principles.  Simply put, a passive house is one that is constructed in such a manner that heat loss and gain are minimized.  Owners of passive houses see their heating and cooling costs drop almost 90% lower than most homes, while energy savings can be in the 60%-70% range. Due to the manner in which they operate, passive homes also generally have a higher interior air quality as well.

Passive homes are essentially almost airtight. A building constructed using passive house principles is very well-insulated, and is primarily heated by passive solar gain and internal gains from people, pets, or electrical equipment. A 10-mm vapor barrier under the foundation seals to an airtight sheathing on exterior walls and roof. No drafts or moisture penetrate a passive house structure, which is more insulated than a typical code-minimum structure.  Passive homes generally have 17 inches of insulation in the same area that code-minimum homes will have 5.5 inches.

The rule of thumb for a passive home is that about 10% will be added to up-front construction costs.  Windows are generally heavily insulated as well, triple glazed with argon between.  The point of all of the excess wall and window insulation is to minimize heat loss to its extreme, mitigating costs and the need to mechanically bring the house back to zero energy.  A specialized ventilation system continuously
provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply, while preventing heat loss through that system. 

Any additional heat demand is provided through an extremely small source, as any heat generated will be trapped inside.  Solar panels on the roof of a passive home are used to heat water, and thermal storage can also be built in by using
tile floors, finished concrete slabs, concrete or granite countertops, stone fireplace surrounds, adobe walls or even American Clay.

The super-insulation of a passive home also works in the opposite direction, keeping cool air locked inside during the warmer months.  Passive homes are also generally constructed in such a manner that
heat gain is minimized through shading and window orientation, thus reducing the necessary cooling load. 

There is no limit to the way that passive house principles can be applied.  The term itself refers only to energy performance, and not to any particular aesthetic, so a passive house design can range from a contemporary, sleek look to a more traditional structure.  If high heating and cooling costs are damaging your calm, consider checking out what it would take to make your home a bit more passive.
 


Comments

01/14/2015 2:46pm

This system is quite unique as it would decrease the energy cost in the home and we can use the sun light at maximum. After that electric fire places can be set at night to fulfill heat need.

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03/30/2016 11:44am

it is really cool when the house is autonomous.

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04/09/2016 7:16am

Good work

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09/19/2016 12:08pm

How the house can be active? Do you mean a smart house?

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Green Conscience blog has got some of the best information one can get,Edvinas has helped me get to this blog and learn all about the Passive houses you have got here,Looking forward to see more from you

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11/26/2016 2:36pm

The concept of passive home is clearly elaborated, good designing is based on different aspects which are good for the safety of the house and its residents.

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12/28/2016 3:46am

Waow!! These are indeed like the coolest houses ever. high heating and cooling costs are indeed damaging our calm, I would consider getting my house passive.

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