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.
HRV: a key component to all Passivhaus and Net-Zero Homes. So….What is It?
In a Passive House, we keep the home airtight in order to keep energy usage low. But there’s a drawback… Our homes NEED regular changes of air to keep them healthy. So, we use a Heat Recovery Ventilator.
An HRV consist of two ventilation ducts running side by side, and passes between the inside and the outside of a house. One duct carries colder, fresh air in; the other carries the moist, stale air out. The clever bit is that the airstreams run through a device called a heat exchanger that allows the outgoing air to pass most of its heat to the incoming air without the two airstreams actually mixing together.
This process will reduce energy requirements by using the heat from the air (that you have paid for), to ‘pre-warm’ the fresh air that you need to bring into the house. What does that mean? You don’t need to use excessive energy (and money!) to heat up the air coming into the house- it’s already warm. A good HRV will keep a consistent and controlled supply of fresh air into the home, making it more healthy and comfortable.
Passive House = Energy Efficient, Healthy and Comfortable thanks to this gorgeous HRV!
A question we hear quite often is how does Net Zero differ from Passive House? Green Building
A Net Zero House:
Is designed to generate as much energy as it uses on an annual basis. Net Zero uses many Passive House design principals, however, will also use on-site renewables like solar panels which can be connected to local electric grids. This allows the home-owner to reduce the need for energy through the design/build process, as well as using renewables (like solar) to “net” out their draw from the electrical grid.
A Passive House:
Will focus on achieving the least amount of energy required to heat/cool a home by using “passive” strategies: Additional insulation, air-tightness, home design/aspect to take advantage of solar gain, eliminating thermal bridging.
Aim is to REDUCE the need for energy at the design/build phase without the use of on-site renewables like solar panels. A Passive House can use solar panels to make the home Net-Zero, however, is ultimately designed to avoid the need for them. By using those passive house design strategies, a home-owner can reduce heating and cooling needs by up to 90%! Truly remarkable.
(For a comprehensive description of Net-Zero Housing, click to see the Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp’s “Net Zero” Page.)
Kelowna Passive House Windows Are Here!
We are thrilled to take delivery of our Passive House windows today! Triple-paned, floor-to-ceiling beauties that will reduce external noise from traffic, planes, and any partying neighbours the owner may not want to hear. The priMe haBitat Builders staff have been waiting for this day…! Why Triple Paned Windows? They have unmatched efficiency, comfort, and thermal performance. These windows are handcrafted, triple-glazed and double sealed for an unmatched performance in airtightness and R-Value. Essential for Passive House design.
priMe haBitat Builders is Kelowna’s Net Zero & Passive House Design | Build firm. For more information, visit www.prime-habitat.com.
Kelowna Passive House: International Passive House Days!
On the weekend of Nov 11-13th 2016, Passive House owners and builders all over the world opened their doors to let the public know more about passive house living. We had an opportunity to have 100+ guests come on a construction tour of the Kelowna Passive House. Good questions, lots of discussion. It’s great to see people interested! Thank you to Castanet News and Global BC for their coverage of International Passive House days! More people know about their housing options than ever before!
Note: International Passive House will be celebrating their 14th year in 2017… be sure to visit Passive House International for their schedule.
It’s November 3rd, 2016 at the Kelowna Passive House, and a balmy 14 degrees! What a great day for building the septic field, installing the new electrical route and shaping the driveway.
Mike and Vance on site doing the excavator work! A great team, a great project.
Contact priMe haBitat For Net Zero and/or Passive House Design & Build. www.prime-habitat.com for more details.
Kelowna Net Zero, Passive House Design | Build by priMe haBitat Builders.
priMe haBitat Builders president shows another group around Kelowna’s Passive House on the Oct. 22nd construction tour. There is so much we can do to make our homes healthier, more efficient and more pleasant to live in. Contact us for more info! www.prime-habitat.com.
What is a Passive House? “Wikipedia: Passive house (German: Passivhaus) is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint.It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house
Green Building, Net Zero and Passive House discussions at the Kelowna Passive House Construction Tour!
We are so pleased to have had such an engaging, interested, knowledgeable and fun group at our first Kelowna Passive House Tour. Great questions about Green building and sustainable construction. The comments and thoughts from the crowd shows us how much we need to incorporate more sustainable building choices for homeowners. There is so much that we can offer right now to help control rising utility costs, lower our carbon footprint and have more quality, better-built homes. It’s here now! Contact us for more information or to talk about your options.
Certified Passive House Builders. www.prime-habitat.com
Net Zero and Passive House Design & Build Firm serving Kelowna and the Okanagan.