With any new emerging trend, there is typically some level of skepticism and misunderstanding that surrounds it. The trend of Passive house design is no exception.
At Crayon Design, we are convinced that passive home design is going to become commonplace in homes all across North America. The benefits that passive home design offers are too great to passive up. In Germany, passive home design has already become more commonplace. However, until this design concept becomes more common in North America, the following myths will need to be addressed.
When thinking of a hyper-insulated passive home, one might start to think of a hot or sticky room void of all fresh air. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, one of the many benefits of passive home design is the superior air quality.
Every passive home is built with windows that can be opened to draw in fresh air. You can feel free to open them! Additionally, ventilation systems in passive homes work by expelling stale interior air and replacing it with fresh outdoor air. Due to their advanced design, they also do a superior job at filtering the air brought into the home, which means greatly improved air quality.
Passive homes do have a furnace and AC system. However, due to a number of characteristics of Passive Home Design, these systems are much smaller than those you would find in a traditional home.
Some of the core concepts of Passive Home Design are to preserve internal temperature and to take advantage of “free energy” as much as possible. Energy retention could come in the form of the trapping heat from the sun, preserving heat from your body, or even the heat from your laptop. Because passive homes are insulated so well and sealed airtight, the smallest heating devices can have a significant impact on the interior temperature. Overall, this means that a smaller furnace and AC system can easily regulate the temperature within the home.
Passive homes cost, on average, 10% more than traditional homes to build. That’s it. In recent years, many passive buildings have come in well under budget. This is largely due to the rise in Passive Home Design popularity worldwide. Due to the increased demand, more passive home components are becoming readily available and affordable. When you add in the fact that passive homes can save around 90% on a standard heating bill, most owners of a passive home will end up paying less over time than if they’d built a traditional home.
The passive home standard can be achieved through almost any combination of passive home elements. There is no “rule sheet” when it comes to passive home design. This means that almost any home can incorporate passive elements to greatly increase efficiency. If you’re looking for insight into what it would take to retrofit your current home to meet Passive House Standards, read our blog on “Passive House Retrofitting”.