When it comes to building a new house, you want to think “green.” A house that’s built through sustainable practices and follows the principles of energy-efficient design provides a communal good. This type of house will draw fewer consumable resources and expend fewer pollutants and contaminants out into the world.
While environmental do-goodery is a good thing, though, that’s not necessarily the green we want you to think about here. A home that consumes fewer resources benefits more than the climate, it benefits you financially. Eco-friendly homes can save you money in the long run, as you spend less on monthly heating and energy bills.
This brings us to the latest trend in energy-efficient homes: the Passive House. These homes will wow you with how much they can shave off your monthly bills while maintaining a high level of comfort, affordability, and ecological loyalty.
What Is A Passive House?
The Passive House design concept started in Germany in the late 1980s and has grown to encompass around 60,000 buildings worldwide. The design isn’t based on any fancy, modern technology, but, instead, five engineering principles:
- Airtight external construction that results in the air only going in and out where it’s designed to do so
- Continuous external insulation with no thermal bridging
- Double- or triple-paned windows for further insulation
- Minimal need for space conditioning
- Ventilation system with heat and moisture recovery Through this design, several benefits begin to emerge for the homeowner. Due to the need for continuous external insulation and airtight design, a Passive House is constructed with high-quality materials that last. A Passive House is less likely to be of a cookie-cutter design with options to swap in inferior materials.
You may think this means the upfront investment in a Passive House is exorbitant. This is not so. In Germany, where Passive House constructions are flourishing, the average cost is three to eight percent more than a typical home.
Yet, this slight increase in building costs is eliminated quickly. Passive House buildings can experience savings on their heat bill of up to 90 percent and reduce their energy usage by 60 to 70 percent. This far outshoots other types of energy-efficient homes. For instance, a LEED-certified building reduces energy consumption by around 25 to 30 percent, when compared to non-LEED buildings.
sive House buildings are also built to maximize comfort throughout the year. Even skeptics of the design who were concerned about being too chilly in the winter and too warm in the summer have glowing reviews for the level of comfort in a Passive House.
es a Passive House Work?
A Passive House does its magic by recycling the “free” heat generated by our bodies, our electronics, and our appliances. Because of the airtight design of a Passive House, this heat does not dissipate into the outdoors but instead is captured and used to heat incoming air.
This process happens through an air-to-air heat recovery component. The component is capable of both bringing in fresh air from the outdoors and dispersing the same amount of stale, interior air outside. The heat recovery component can capture the heat of the stale air and use it to warm the incoming air, making sure that as little heat as possible escapes the home.
By bringing in the fresh air and getting rid of stale air, the inside of a Passive House sometimes feels as if its windows are open even when they aren’t. This design also takes advantage of the heat given off by ovens, stoves, and dishwashers, or other household appliances that can raise the temperature in a specific room.
For instance, many people choose to install solar panels on their roof, allowing for passive energy intake during sunny periods. This further helps drive energy costs down, as the energy brought in from the sun can help reduce the need for gas or electrical energy.
Further, some may install a ground heat exchange to take advantage of the warmth stored in the ground itself. This can serve as a secondary source of heat and help ensure the temperature remains comfortable year-round.
Why Should I Get a Ductless Heat Pump, Too?
Even though a Passive House is designed to not need a traditional heating and cooling system, a ductless heat pump can serve as the perfect accessory for any energy-efficient and ecologically conscious home. This is because a Passive House building and a ductless heat pump share many of the same design principles.
Ductless heat pumps are energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. Because they have no ducts, there’s no chance of the conditioned air leaking out. Ductless systems are crafted to only use the energy they require, and many are equipped with smart sensors so they can constantly fine-tune their operation. This is far more efficient than traditional systems that only respond to larger temperature shifts by revving up the whole system then slamming on the breaks when the interior climate reaches that ideal state.
Another advantage of ductless heat pumps is their ability to be installed almost anywhere. Without the need for expensive, leaky ducts, ductless systems can be used with almost any architectural design. This is especially beneficial for homes with specific construction needs, such as the Passive House building’s need for extensive insulation.
Because a Passive House building is built with an airtight design, it not only blocks out unwanted outdoor air, it also stifles outside noises. A ductless heat pump operates quietly, meaning you won’t hear the hard echoes of a heating system clanging on. In fact, most ductless heat pumps operate more quietly than a whisper.
Who Should I Contact For More Information?
If you’re interested in keeping your home comfortable and energy-efficient, reach out to The Heat Pump Store today. As the heat pump experts of the Pacific Northwest, our expert team of technicians is ready to assess your needs and provide superior customer service. We can even help with DIY options for those that feel comfortable installing the heat pump themselves.