Nowadays, “going green” is the only way to go. As a result, “building green” and passive homes are growing in popularity everywhere. Passive houses are built to significantly cut your carbon footprint and be energy efficient, including taking very little energy to cool or heat your home. It is both a building methodology and comfort standard. For homeowners everywhere, it means a reduction of your power bills as well.
To be classified as a passive house, a building must meet the best practices guidelines for keeping outside temperatures outside while maintaining a stable temperature inside. Furthermore, the air quality inside needs to be high-quality as well. These “best practices” were initially developed by the Passive House Institute (PHI) based on years of research. Today, they are used by thousands of architects, contractors, and developers worldwide. All homes designated “a passive house” are built according to these standards for energy-efficiency and carbon footprint.
Passive houses require good ventilation including maintaining interior temperature by keeping an air-tight environment. This might require continuous insulation, triple-paned windows, and an overall efficient air-quality control system. In addition, they also need to remove thermal bridging, a problem that occurs when the temperature is transferred from one object to another through physical contact. This includes a situation like the steel beams supporting your floors making a room in your home colder because they are in contact with the freezing brick exterior of your home. It’s these “contact points” that need to be eliminated to keep things more level inside without the use of an external heat source. This can only be achieved in older buildings through renovation, otherwise called “retrofitting.”
Passive house techniques can make your home up to 90% more energy-efficient than the average home today. This makes owning a passive home not only more comfortable but significantly cheaper to maintain. Furthermore, it’s good for the environment overall.
Passive houses also have a higher air quality by removing the usual fumes and staleness you might experience in a non-passive house. This is due to the air constantly being circulated in addition to being filtered. They don’t even require electricity to remain comfortable for residents since they are built to stay naturally temperate. This is ideal for emergencies when the power is out but you want to stay comfortable inside your house. In areas with extreme weather conditions like snow, a passive house can be both very comfy and economical.
99% of passive homes are built normally, including materials and labor, but the methodology is specialized per PHI standards. A majority of these standards are applied in the design process since your biggest problems like “thermal bridging” can be easily addressed early on. For in-home renovations, it’s a matter of reinforcing insulation with new fixtures, among other “fixes.” Therefore, passive home techniques can be easily applied in modern and older buildings.