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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Nicolau

The Benefits of Passive Houses

Updated: Feb 7


Sustainable living is on the rise, and for a very good reason. As we become more aware of our impact on the environment and how it is affecting our health, our economy and our day-to-day living, we're looking for ways to reduce our footprint and live more sustainably. One way to do this is to build or buy a passive house.


What is a Passive House?


A passive house is a building designed to minimise energy consumption. Passive houses use a variety of architectural design and construction techniques to achieve this. The basic components include:


  • Super-insulation (like a warm, eco-friendly hug for your home)

  • High-performance windows and doors (no drafts allowed!)

  • Airtight construction (no heat sneaking out without permission)

  • Thermal bridge-free design (no more cold or damp spots)

  • Passive solar heating (sun and trees as your best friends)


Traditional construction vs. passive house construction
Comparison of typical U-values and wall thickness of a typical German construction vs. Passive House construction from the IPHA.

Benefits of Passive Houses


So, what do we achieve when living in a passive home?


  • Reduced energy costs: A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems found that passive houses can use up to 90% less energy than conventional buildings, leading to significant energy bill savings.

  • Improved comfort: Passive houses are designed to provide temperature and humidity control, resulting in year-round comfort regardless of the season, making chilly winters and sweaty summers a thing of the past.

  • Better indoor air quality: Top-notch ventilation systems improve indoor air quality. The university study "Indoor Air Quality in Passivhaus Dwellings" concluded that living in a passive house can reduce allergy symptoms and asthma, creating a living environment akin to an air purifier.

  • Reduced environmental impact: Passive houses produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional buildings because they use less energy.

  • Climate Resilience: Passive houses can prepare us for present and future climate change conditions by maintaining a stable, comfortable indoor environment, ensuring safety and well-being during extreme weather events or temperature fluctuations.


Check out the following TedXTalk video by green building expert Jeff Colley, for more insights on Passive House building:



Passive House Cons?


While passive houses offer numerous benefits, it's essential to consider potential drawbacks. Here are a few cons to keep in mind:

  • Initial Cost: Passive houses may have a higher upfront cost due to specialised materials and construction techniques. However, these costs are often offset by long-term energy savings.

  • Retrofitting Challenges: Converting an existing building into a passive house can be more complex and costly than building one from scratch.

  • Ventilation Maintenance: The sophisticated ventilation systems require regular maintenance and filter replacement.

  • Limited Availability: Depending on your location, finding a certified passive house or suitable builders may be challenging.


Do Passive Houses use Bio and Organic Building Materials?


It's important to note that the materials used in passive house construction can vary significantly, impacting their environmental footprint. Future articles will delve deeper into the use of conventional means versus eco-friendly materials for construction, insulation, and furnishings, as passive houses can, but do not necessarily, incorporate traditional materials like cork, wool, or hay in innovative ways to create a healthy and cozy living space.


So, stay tuned to learn about efficient and sustainable options for building a quality, eco-friendly home. In the end, the choice is yours to make it not just efficient, but also Kerridwen style... eco-chic!



Conclusion


In summary, passive houses are like chameleons, adaptable to any climate and style. They can be new constructions or clever retrofits, offering energy-efficiency, comfort, health benefits, and environmental kindness. With close to 40,000 homes certified by the International Passive House Association (IPHA) alone, they're a sustainable living option worth serious consideration.



Ready to Embark on your Sustainable Living Adventure?


Click here to discover more about Kerridwen Green's passive house listings and other sustainable homes. Subscribe to our Living Green blog to stay updated on all things sustainable, and let Kerridwen Green Real Estate guide you into the world of sustainable luxury living. Our homes are more than structures; they're statements of values and aspirations. Ready to embrace the green revolution without sacrificing life's pleasures? You're in the right place.



This 3-min article was brought to you by Alexandra Nicolau, Founder & CEO of Kerridwen Green Real Estate, with over two decades of expertise in sustainability for business.

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