Passive House Design
What is a Passive House? Although Hawkeye Builders has been involved in solar since the late 70’s this is our first Passive House construction. We are thrilled to be chosen to build a Passive House for a Durango energy conscious family.
If you don’t know what a ‘Passive House’ is you’re in good company, most people haven’t. Passive Houses are essentially buildings which use very little energy for heating and cooling, whilst also providing a high level of comfort. If I were to describe Passive Houses in a few words it would be ‘exceptionally energy efficient, virtually airtight houses’. The houses are so energy efficient they can save up to 90% in heating costs. One of the main focal points of Passive Houses is minimizing air leakage from the property. In fact, for a house to be certified, ‘the building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour’. The houses implement the latest in insulation technology, triple-glazed windows, balanced energy recovery ventilation and limiting thermal bridging, being heated mostly using ‘passive’ energy from electrical equipment, people and passive solar gains.
The Passive House concept for ultra-low-energy buildings first developed in the United States during the 1970s energy crisis, only to be adopted and refined into a codified certification system in Germany, after funding in USA dried up. But, like a prodigal son, Passive House has reemerged in the U.S., with use of the certification system steadily gaining ground over the last decade. Satisfying the stringent criteria requires airtight, super-insulated envelopes that are shaped by ambitious performance goals.
Hawkeye Builders is currently constructing the Passive House with 12 inch double 2x4 exterior (limited thermal bridging) wall construction with a R58 exterior wall insulation and R-80 Ceiling. We have minimized air leakage with diligent and careful use of tape to seal all penetrations and plywood seams, including a double layered soffit and air tight recessed lighting. We have installed German designed triple glass windows and doors with minimal glazing on north side of home. We have two energy ventilation (ERV) recovery systems for living area and heat ventilation recovery (HRV) for insulated air tight crawl space. The planned Solar Array is a 6,360 watt roof-mounted photovoltaic solar system comprised of the 24 Mitsubishi 265 watt solar panels. This 6.36 kW system will provide 9,244 kWh of energy per year.
As of late spring 2015 we are entering the insulation drywall phase of construction. Although we refer to the design as a Passive House we certainly feel it will be a wonderful, extremely comfortable and livable HOME.
Please visit our Gallery of Photos for Passive House Construction
Really impressive work you have accomplished on a very energy efficient home. I have tested, or overseen the test data on over 680 homes (working under the U.S. Department of Energy, Colorado Energy Office and 4CORE) and this is the highest performing home I have seen to date. "Build it Tight, and Vent it Right", is the mantra. You have achieved a difficult benchmark through your attention to detail in the construction of this home.
Building Performance Inspections:
Residential & Commercial: Energy Audits and Inspections