The passive house is the concept of housing for the future. The clear definition of its benefits is often blurred by people who are scared of change and clinging to old methods. However, if we want to live better, we have to build our houses smarter. And that is all the passive house (also known as Passivhaus, a term from Germany where it was originally defined) is about – smarter house design that is not expensive by nature.
On average, it is between 0-3% more expensive upfront, but you can expect that this investment will lower your monthly bills by up to 90%.
According to the calculation done for a British project in Norfolk, the initial costs of Passivhaus home are 5% higher, but in the warmer Australian climate this number needs to be adjusted to the range of 0-3% according to The fifth estate.
The housing market in Australia suffers from the same diseases as the UK or the US. Rising real estate prices, rising energy costs, a lengthy way to obtain housing permits, the pressure to build eco-friendly homes and above all more and more expensive maintenance costs. The answer to all these issues is more efficient temperature and energy management that leads to using the heating for only 5-7 days during the winter season. Especially, in the case when it is very common that people still use old fan blowers and electric blankets. That’s the way to save some serious money, don’t you think?
Main principles of Passivhaus
There are 5 pillars of the passive house design. They all bear the same weight and when one is missing, the whole idea shutters into pieces. Before we will dig into it, be sure to check this article explaining the difference between a passive house and passive solar design, as it is a little bit confusing.
- Energy-efficient design and building’s orientation
- Super-insulation (you might want to read more about the importance of the building’s thermal envelope)
- No thermal bridges
- High-performance glazing
- Air tightness with an adequate ventilation strategy
To meet the criteria for the Passivhaus, it is necessary to use high-tech materials and appliances. Of course, they cost slightly more, but they are designed to last. Most of them are basically maintenance-free and practically all of them offer the utmost quality for the 30 and more years of the operation.
What benefits can ecokit designed around the passive house concept offer for extra 3%?
Our designs offer many benefits. You will notice some of them instantly, some of them with the first look at your quarterly energy bills. You can look forward to:
- A warmer home in the winter with minimal active heating. Don’t stress about the heating as you don’t stress about the refrigerator that is on all day long.
- A cooler home in the summer with as low as 7 days when active cooling might be necessary.
- A heat pump that works with a high efficiency.
- Better air quality. No mold, no pollen or fine construction dust thanks to the air filter which makes people less sick – on average by 6 days a year.
- Less moisture in the house construction causing it to last longer. Plus you will see your towels drying with ease.
What’s more, this concept reduces the carbon footprint of your home during the construction as well as during its lifetime operation by 90%. Construction and housing altogether cause roughly 50% of state CO2 emissions. However, complete data for Australia are not available.
So, why is passive house design so underrated when it can help raise healthier children with no allergies, asthma or night coughs as well as to help fight rising fuel poverty among all Australians?
It is clear that the passive house design will be obligatory in Australia one day, as it is planned for all buildings in the UK and Europe by 2025. How else could the world halve the CO2 emissions by 2030 in order to keep our planet habitable? Don’t hesitate, act now!
And forget the myths like that the windows of passive houses can’t be opened or that you won’t have enough oxygen in the airtight building. It is not about turning your home into a nuclear bunker, it is about control and smart ventilation strategy done automatically by the air pump.
How ecokit feels about the Passivhaus concept?
We absolutely love it. All our designs are designed as energy-efficient as possible and meeting the Passivhaus standard is no problem for us. We like the bigger challenge like the pure off-grid self-sustainable ecohouses that are basically free of energy bills and extremely gentle towards the natural environment. And we confirm that the initial investment won’t be much higher than the common non-passive house on the current market.
Ecokit is part of a movement of Australian builders who strives for better quality in construction, insulation and health. We are helping us, Australians, to live in houses built for the future while protecting our planet and limiting the depletion of valuable resources.
Are you ready to plan your future life with a minimal CO2 footprint? Just one extra step and our expert will address all your questions, worries and hopes!