You may not have heard of passive house builders yet, but chances are, you will soon. The energy savings associated with a home that’s able to heat and cool itself automatically—purely through its architectural design—can be a huge advantage when trying to limit greenhouse gas emissions now and well into the future.
Passive houses have been available for a while (especially in Europe) since they were first designed in Germany. Now, right here in NZ, you have access to passive houses as a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. A passive home, along with some sustainable energy technology and practices, can help you achieve a zero-carbon lifestyle. Read on to find out more!
Passive housing has worked for thousands of years
That’s right; passive houses have actually been around for a very long time, and more specifically, its design tenets that have existed for centuries.
There are structures all across the Middle East which have been built to handle the heat since the earliest days of civilisation! Some of the design features include wind towers, which cooled homes in ancient Egypt and Persia, and still exist in Iran today. The domed roofs of the Middle East are also designed specifically to cool down the interior, helping form some of the earliest refrigerators that ever existed.
How do modern passive houses work?
Modern passive houses are built with similar design purposes in mind as those that have existed before it. The passive structures of the contemporary world use upgraded insulation and controlled ventilation to manage the airflow of a house. Implementing high-quality insulation—including double, triple or quadruple window glazing—allows passive houses to achieve its core design goal.
This design goal is why passive houses require strict certifications; close attention to detail is needed to ensure the system works. When it does, it’s a huge boon. Most of the year, occupants won’t require any more heating than that generated by home appliances, and residents’ body heat! Passive homes are able to capture all of it and make it last. During winter, the ventilation system uses heat from outgoing air to heat incoming air, mitigating the cold while allowing for fresh air year-round.
The primary outcome is a vastly reduced risk of fuel poverty, which has been an issue for households in NZ over the past few decades. Less energy used on domestic heating means a lower rate of emissions from energy production. So, by investing in a passive home, energy bills for heating are cut down dramatically, saving both families and, ultimately, all of New Zealand.
Can passive houses really help us beat climate change?
The truth is passive homes are only one part of the solution, and every bit counts. There’s no doubt reducing energy emissions impacts emissions overall. Beyond that, there are more reasons to invest in a passive home than climate change alone, including reduced health risks for your family.
That said, here at Craft Homes, we’re committed to sustainable building, and passive house design is just one part of it. We also source sustainable building materials, as typical build projects can have a substantial environmental impact based solely on the materials they use. Furthermore, we limit construction waste and do what we can to make sure the process of delivering your passive home doesn’t undo the good it will do for the environment once it’s in your hands.
With a combination of smart design, innovative technology, and common sense, we’re confident that our homes—and the way we make them—will someday be the norm.
Want to know more?
If you’re interested in building a passive house in NZ, or you just want to know more about our sustainable practices, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Reach out today, and one of our friendly team will be able to answer your questions!
Toby and Cat Tilsley