- Building envelope: The walls can be up to 18 inches thick. This allows for a higher amount of insulation, which in turn gives your home better heat retention. The entire house should be air sealed perfectly to maintain indoor temperatures.
- Windows: With a high level of insulation, windows would be a weak link in passive house design. To combat the weaker thermal barrier, double-paned or even triple-paned windows are the norm. Low-e coatings and insulated fiberglass coatings also go a long way in providing superior energy retention.
- Energy recovery ventilation: With a tightly sealed building envelope, your house still needs to exchange stale air. With an energy recovery ventilator, you can have fresh filtered air around the clock, with the added bonus that the heat from the stale exhaust air is harvested to provide a greater energy efficiency. This works especially well if any of the inhabitants have allergies or are sensitive to airborne irritants.
- Site conditions: It’s important to consider the climate and site where you are building. In Massachusetts winters, having the north side of the house protected will allow for greater heat retention. Building into the side of a hill will keep the indoor temperatures consistent year-round.
When constructing a new house or remodeling your existing home, incorporating a passive house concept will allow for a sustainable and energy efficient dwelling. The design/build team at Sage Builders LLC can help you achieve the ideal passive house design. Here are a few key items to consider during the design phase: