Sunday, January 4, 2009

Passive Houses: no heating bills!

Did you ever dream of not having a heating or cooling bill for your home? Are you tired of cold drafts, leaky doors and windows, and the unknown of energy costs? You can get quick fixes like replacement windows, radiant heat perhaps - but how about a house that does not need a heating/cooling system to keep warm, even in a cold climate? Sounds enticing?

Passive house is a concept more familiar to the people of Europe (they always seem to be a few steps ahead), and the Passivhaus Institut in Germany is the pioneer of the engineering concepts for this energy efficient way of living. A passive house is a "very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc. Energy losses are minimized. Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply."

To learn more about Passive Houses (not to be confused with a solar passive house), take a look at the links below:

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