We get asked so many questions about what a Passive House is, why it’s necessary and how the technology works that we decided to put together a list of the most frequently asked questions.
If you’ve got a query we haven’t addressed here, reach out to us via the contact us page on our website.
WHY DO WE NEED TO BUILD A PASSIVE HOUSE IN AUSTRALIA?
Let’s cut to the chase. Newly built or renovated Australian houses are only just reaching the bare minimum in energy efficiency standards, and that is if it’s built correctly!
The BASIX certification that you have to comply with when entering a building project is a guide at best and is nowhere near the levels of comfort you get within a Passive House.
Poorly insulated buildings, thermal bridges everywhere and single pane glazing do not allow for a comfortable indoor living environment, thus requiring active and over used cooling and heating systems. This proves very expensive for the consumer with the ever-increasing energy prices we face. Not only that, but the fossil fuels required to run these systems are contributing significantly to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Once you understand the details of how a Passive House performs, you will be left wondering why we have been continuing to build with such old methods and ideas for so long.
ISN’T IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BUILD A SUSTAINABLE HOME?
Potentially…but it doesn’t have to be!
Current estimations in Australia are saying 10-15%. Statistics from Europe are saying 3-8%, which is where they have more buildings and more data to go by. With the correct design and a minimalist approach, regular budgeting could achieve a Passive House. It’s no different to conventional building projects where you design according to your budget and have the right builder engaged to always keep the budget in check during the design stage.
In any case, the potential for long term savings in energy costs will far outweigh any initial extra expense. So, you don’t really have to hold anything back if this is your forever home.
WILL MY MATERIALS ALL HAVE TO BE IMPORTED FROM OVERSEAS?
We always try to incorporate Australian products into our buildings. With the momentum that Passive House is gaining in Australia, there are a number of manufacturers of Passive House certified materials already and as demand grows, it will only ever increase.
During our collaborative pre-construction design and costing stages, we work extensively with our clients on choosing the right materials for the job, whilst keeping that budget in check.
HOW CAN YOU GUARANTEE IT WILL PASS THE PASSIVE HOUSE STANDARD?
We are certified with the Passive House Institute in Germany and have a team comprising of certified Passive House tradespeople. Together with our pre-construction team of certified Passive House designers and certifiers, your design gets put through the PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) which calculates whether the design will pass and meet standards. If it doesn’t, it gets tweaked and the necessary changes are made until it does, prior to any construction even beginning. Once underway and on-site there is certainly no cutting corners as materials are checked to see if they meet the correct design and installation requirements. Several blower door tests will be taken at critical stages to be certain that the strict airtightness levels of the Passive House standard are met.
ISN’T A PASSIVE HOUSE A COMPLICATED, HIGH-TECH BUILDING?
Not at all! More than anything, a Passive House utilises higher quality versions of typical building concepts and components. The heat recovery ventilation system, not common in conventional buildings, is user-friendly and easy to operate with fewer controls than a TV.
Passive House technology is so simple, there’s no need to hire someone to maintain it, you can do it yourself.
CAN ANY BUILDER BUILD A PASSIVE HOUSE?
While building the structure itself is relatively similar to conventional building methods, building a Passive House to standard and achieving certification is a whole different ball game.
Due to the rigorous planning and testing a Passive House goes through in design and construction, every single building component and detail needs to be sequenced and implemented correctly.
If you are going all in for the holy grail of Passive House certification, there are no cutting corners which is why it makes it the Number 1 building standard out there today.