So What Is Passive House Anyway?
You may have begun seeing the term in headlines. Your architect may have mentioned it to you in the development phase. Still, you aren't really clear as to what Passive House is other than a term you don't have time to research. We can help! Passive House is not a particular brand of home, but rather a construction metric for the world's leading standard in construction that provides unique energy efficient metrics. The standard of the Passive House construction provides quality, comfort, and an energy efficient design. The motto on the US Passive House Institute’s website is “Comfort. Quality. Efficiency. Resiliency. Affordability. Now.” Compared to code standard buildings, Passive Building can dramatically cut energy consumption by up to 60-80%. Wait! What?? A 60-80% decrease in energy consmption?? Tell me more...
Passive House construction is a bit of a misnomer as it can and is being applied to the new construction of commercial buildings as well as to private homes. The term Passive Building is actually beginning to emerge in the construction vernacular, quickly replacing Passive House as a more accurate description of this construction movement.
Constructing a new Passive Building typically only adds approximately 5-10% to the overall building costs than conventional construction costs – not that much when you consider the personal benefits, as well as the environmental benefits, that occur from such strict standards. As more large scale manufacturers come on board with Passive Building components , and construction design begins to influence savvy builders and buyers, we expect to see these prices decrease, keeping them more in line with current construction costs.
Developed in the 1970s through a grant from the US Department of Energy and the Canadian government, scientists and building engineers teamed up to create a standard that would take building construction as close as possible to the net-zero and net-positive lines by minimizing the energy load required to maintain the average home and/or building. Researchers have found that a single standard cannot be applied to the US Housing and Building markets as the differing climate zones will not allow adherence to a single standard. We expect implementation of new standards that address the individual requirements of the North American climate zones to occur in early 2015.
According to phius.org, Passive buildings must adhere to the following building-science principles:
• It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
• The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
• It employs high-performance windows (typically triple-pane) and doors.
• It uses some form of balanced heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
• Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
While Passing Building focuses on the external construction of a home or building, we at AmCork tend to focus on the energy reduction and environmental impact our products have on the interior of your home or commercial building. Our cork flooring and cork wall coverings offer a wealth of acoustical and thermal insulation, hypo allergenic and mold resistant properties. Our products are made from a self-renewable material and bring a natural element that will either blend or stand out according to your own personal preference. When considering Passive Building construction, we encourage you to not just stop at the outside; go further and bring our products into your new construction project. They can also help you increase your net-zero/net-positive line by decreasing energy costs with their insulating properties. Shop today and explore our many options. We would love to help you decorate your newly constructed Passive House!