1143 Dryden Rd Ithaca, NY 14853 1.866.669.1786

Passive House

Passive House

We reduce, reuse and recycle. However, humanity still has an issue. Every day, we damage our planet. What more can we do? Our basic modern-era needs require energy.  

Most of us know about renewable energy. But what if we take it a step further. What if we make our energy consumption more efficient while using renewable sources?   

Welcome to the Passive House design standards. 

A Brief Background

If you are not aware of what “Passive House design standards” are, you are not alone. This revolutionary style of construction does not often come up in everyday conversation. The foundations of this construction technique can be found in the 1970s to early 1980s in North America. The energy crisis of the time led to the creation of the Lo-Cal house which used less energy than other residences at the time. The first mention of a “passive house” is in the book “The Saunders-Shrewsbury House” written by American physicist William Shurcliff in 1982. Germany continued the endeavor when Dr. Wolfgang Feist improved the concept. He created the Passive House Institute in 1996 and laid the foundation for Passive House design standards.  

What is a Passive House?

Dr. Feist set standards for what may be considered a true “Passive House.” Without a degree in architecture, engineering, or construction experience, these standards may be hard to comprehend. To put it simply, passive houses: 

  • Are airtight
  • Are well insulated
  • Take advantage of heat recovery and natural thermal regulation techniques.

Solar and Passive Houses

The sun is used to almost eliminate the energy consumption of the house in two distinct ways. 

Direct gain utilizes the sun’s heat energy with thermal mass. Thermal mass consists of materials that retain heat. Sunlight strikes a window and enters the building. This heats up a wall or a floor that acts as the thermal mass. When the temperature drops below a certain point the thermal mass releases the heat slowly. This is the most efficient form of heating the building. 

When a thermal mass acts as a wall that separates the living space from the glass, this is called indirect gainIndirect gain releases the heat in the same way as indirect gain, but it is less efficient.  

If more energy is required to heat or cool the building, solar panels make up the difference. If more energy is produced from these solar panels, the excess can be sold back to the energy company. Solar batteries are also an option! 

You don’t need to completely convert your house to conform to Passive House design standards right away. You can start with a simple switch. Intelligent Green Solutions works to make your transition to solar as seamless as possible. Contact us to learn more about how you can save our planet!