The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%. “Passive” describes the system’s underlying receptivity and retention capacity. Working with natural resources, free solar energy is captured and applied efficiently, instead of relying predominantly on “active” systems to bring a building to “zero” energy.
Nearly 30,000 of these houses have already been built in Europe. However, in the United States, since the first passive house went up 10 years ago in Illinois, only about 90 have been certified.
The good news is that the first Passive House in Colorado has been officially certified in Adams County, a few minutes northeast of trendy Denver neighborhoods.
A Certified Passive House must meet three strict standards of performance in terms of:
Air-exchange (two-way, inside-to-outside), which cannot exceed 0.6 of every room, per hour. Vents that look like small, round audio speakers are placed throughout the house to exchange fresh air. These devices have prevented the formation of mold, which plagued the passive-solar movement of the 1970s and 1980s,
Energy usage (basic electricity), which cannot exceed 11.1 kilowatts per square foot annually. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air quality.
BTU consumption (typically applying to heating and cooling), which cannot exceed 4,750 per square foot annually. the “lungs” of a Passive House come from a box called a heat (or energy) recovery ventilator (HRV/ERV). It provides a constant supply of tempered, filtered fresh air 24/7 and saves money by recycling the indoor energy that is typically found in exhaust air, while it is being filtered. It provides a huge upgrade in indoor air quality and consistent comfort, especially for people sensitive to allergies.
Remember, Daniel Beckerle is an Eco-Broker if you have any questions about building “green” or adding any “green” features to your home.