Are Passive Houses Worth It?
Check Out These Benefits And See What You Think
If you’re considering a custom home, or any kind of building project, you’ve probably run across Passive House design, a science-backed approach to energy-efficient building.
Is it hype? Or are Passive House structures really worth it?
We specialize in Passive House design because we believe they are. In fact, we think they’re a key solution to a climate-resilient future. Here’s why:
Super Low Energy Costs
Structures built to Passive House standards deliver immediate benefits. Nowhere is this more obvious than with energy use and savings.
Occupants can expect low operational costs compared to conventional buildings. Because they use energy so efficiently, Passive House buildings have wildly low utility bills compared with conventional structures. And because they’re made with high-quality materials using tightly controlled, science-based construction practices, there are far fewer maintenance expenses than a typical building.
Passive House structures cost, on average, about 3-5% more to construct than traditional buildings. But the difference in cost is typically offset by operational savings, usually within four to eight years.
Outlandish Energy Efficiency
Passive House buildings save money because they save energy — in dramatic fashion. Passive House buildings conserve up to 75% more energy than conventional new construction. That’s a serious reduction in your carbon footprint and makes your home part of the climate solution.
The five principles of Passive House design create the optimal conditions for energy-efficient living. They are:
- Continuous insulation. Passive House structures are wrapped in a continuous layer of insulation to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer and to prevent condensation.
- No thermal bridges. Passive House construction eliminates spots where energy typically escapes from a building (around windows and doors, for example).
- Airtight construction. A combination of tapes, sealants, and other materials gives each Passive House structure an airtight barrier.
- High-performance windows and doors. Triple-layer, thoroughly insulated windows and windowed doors are a crucial part of the air and insulation barrier and optimize the use of solar energy.
- Fresh air with heat recovery. An advanced ventilation system delivers a continuous stream of fresh, filtered air to the structure’s interior and transfers heat or coolness from outgoing to incoming air.
Saving energy and money is exciting. But we believe the most profound difference between a Passive House structure and a traditional one is superior comfort. These structures are livable in a way that most of us can’t even imagine.
There are no drafts or spikes in warm or cool temperatures. (Your feet feel warm all winter, for example, no matter how wet, cold, and dreary it is outside.) You get the benefits of good, natural light: spaces look bigger, colors look more true, and your serotonin levels increase, making you feel happier.
It’s quiet. Insulation and high-performing windows dampen traffic and other outside noise while advanced mechanical equipment operates at ultra-quiet levels. Airtight construction keeps the critters outside so there are fewer insects and spiders.
Healthier Indoor Living
Living or working in a Passive House environment, you get the benefits of healthy air, including better sleep, fewer environmentally triggered headaches, and fewer allergic flare-ups.
Because all air entering the structure is filtered and the air exchange system is constantly expelling pollutants, there’s little to no dust, the exact opposite of what it’s like to live or work in aging urban building interiors. Passive House buildings are also engineered to avoid moisture accumulation, so there are no issues with mildew or mold — or the odors that go along with them.
Reliable — In Perpetuity
We know this sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not: once you invest in Passive House construction, your building will, essentially, last forever.
For decades, building scientists have studied Passive House design and longstanding models prove that these structures last and last, with minimal maintenance costs and reliable performance. This means your investment is safe.
Secure, Resilient, Climate-Smart
Passive House structures, though conceived of in the 1970’s, have evolved dramatically and are custom-designed to withstand today’s climate disruptions.
Because of special air filtration systems, indoor air quality is unaffected by smoke, even on days when the air quality is dangerously low outside. During a power outage, indoor temperatures stay safe longer than they do in a conventional house. They can also provide backup power through active/solar energy systems.
Gorgeous Materials, Guaranteed Quality
All Passive House projects must meet strict criteria, guaranteeing the quality of the work. This means your project won’t be built according to the standards of whatever construction company you’ve hired. Because every Passive House project must pass rigorous standards to be certified, the quality of construction work is high-quality and consistent.
Posted on July 01, 2023