Why Passive House?
by Anamaria Arnautu
Increasingly, people are interested in how they can be more sustainable. We are certainly doing this at Edmiston Jones, engaging with different programs being developed in Australia and around the world. Passive House Standard (PHS) emerged in Germany thirty years ago. Its focus is on low energy, good quality, comfortable buildings for all kinds of uses, not only houses as the name might suggest. It is based on scientific research and the Passive House Institute monitors the performance of many of the certified buildings throughout their lifespan. First and foremost, a Passive House is a low energy building. It can achieve a reduction of up to 90% in energy use compared to a conventional design. The focus is on a high quality, highly performing building envelope and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). In a Passive House, sustainability aligns particularly well with the wellbeing of its occupants. The air quality is better than in a conventional house due to the constant influx of fresh air through the MVHR. It uses the extracted air from the house to heat or cool the outdoor air coming in, keeping the indoor temperature constant and at comfortable levels throughout the year. Although the strategy challenges perceptions about the connection between the interior and external environment, highly airtight Passive Houses achieve a high level of occupant comfort by eliminating cold drafts and providing good air quality as the air is continually refreshed through the mechanical system. And, if you were wondering, windows can be opened at any time. In fact, occupants can turn off the MHRV unit in summer and open the windows at night to cool down the house. A Passive House can be a good long-term investment for owner-occupier residencies and for investors as well. It has been observed that renters tend to stay longer in Passive Houses due to high comfort and low energy bills. With the cost of electricity going up and an unpredictable real estate market, building a high quality, low-energy house can be a good investment. Try and spend a few days in a Passive House and decide if you like it. Also, check this video for more information on the benefits of living in a Passive House. There are many things that we can do now to ensure we leave a good legacy for future generations. Stay curious and informed.