Monday, June 17, 2013

Passive Homes Ready to Return Home to the US

The US modular housing industry is poised to become the leader in passive house building. Both the prefab home styles of the West Coast factories as well as their modular home siblings in the Midwest and East Coast are looking for the newest and affordable ways to achieve energy independence.

So-called passive houses, which have been around in Europe but never really caught on in the United States, are basically built around the idea of making houses airtight, super-insulated and energy efficient.

The goal: a house that creates nearly as much energy as it consumes. Think of being able to keep your house warm without a traditional big furnace, cool with no air conditioning unit.

There is no reason that both the prefab and modular home factories can’t become the stars of the passive world. In fact, Preferred Building Systems built a passive house for a VT chapter of Habitat for Humanity in 2010.

Signature features often include thick outside walls and roofs, highly-insulated windows and frames, and a south-facing orientation. The ventilation system pulls in fresh outdoor air and pumps out stale indoor air, but not before it’s used to heat or cool the incoming air to the same temperature.

Houses built this way can stay comfortable using 90 percent less energy than traditional construction homes, according to the Passive House Institute US, an Illinois-based certification, research and consulting group.

Though the idea was born in the U.S., the roughly 20,000 internationally certified passive houses worldwide are in Europe — predominantly Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. Fewer than 100 exist in the U.S

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Preferred Building Systems (PBS) out of Claremont, NH have recently built and delivered two homes to the Hanover, NH area that reach "passive" standards. Cutting edge products used included highly efficient, European manufactured windows specific to Passive home building and low slope roof design that will promote the addition of a "living roof" in the future are some of the features in these new projects.