We just met with a new client who is looking forward to building their new home. They hadn’t really given much thought to energy-efficiency and high-performance design, but have now done some research. It’s Net-Zero/Passive or nothing. Why? Why is it that so many people don’t know their options when it comes to the home that they will live in…raise their family in? Shouldn’t they know the options when it comes to perhaps the most important long-term investment they will make?
We admit- It’s our fault! The building industry. Developers, builders, realtors, designers. It’s takes a bit more effort, more education, and is a bit more difficult to find staff that really cares about what they build. It’s time-consuming to learn the new processes, and to talk to various stakeholders about it. To introduce planners, envelope engineers, and sub-trades to it. It’s easy to just build standard. But we have learned that it is so very worth it!
By using a few different strategies, we can make a home infinitely more comfortable, healthier and better than a standard code-built home. Most home owners talk only about cost, but when it’s all taken into consideration, the costs for building a superior product like a Net-Zero / Passive House are negligible. You are either going to pay your utility provider every month for the rest of your days (and we all know that those costs don’t decrease), or you can build thoughtfully and efficiently and pay a whole lot less, if anything, on utility bills. Paying your energy bills (with after-tax dollars!) will never stop, but an extra
investment in maintenance-free insulation for example, can cuts those costs significantly. By positioning your home to make the most of the free heat from the sun is inflation-protection that you certainly won’t get from Fortis or BC Hydro. By decreasing the active heating/cooling systems you typically need in a standard-built home, you significantly cut down on your on-going maintenance costs. By knowing a bit about how the heat/cool you pay for escapes in a standard-built home, and how a Net-Zero or Passive House mitigates that, you will want to build to better standards.So, we, the building industry, need to do a better job.
Building this way is not only the right thing to do environmentally… that’s a super-delicious icing on the cake. But these homes, because of their superior ability to efficiently and effectively transfer stale air out of the house and bring fresh air in, reduces mold and allergens in the home. These homes, by far, are healthier to live in. And because of the extra insulation and other building fundamentals on these homes, they are extra quiet to live in.
Win, Win, Win.
If you are considering building, please talk to us about the possibilities and options available to you. You may be glad you did!
priMe haBitat Builders / Kelowna Passive House
Net Zero and Passive House Design & Build firm, serving Kelowna and the Okanagan.