A passive-certified home is one that employs a set of advanced building technologies to achieve extreme energy efficiency. Energy consumption is reduced by up to 90% compared to a conventionally-built home. A passive-inspired home incorporates many of the same building techniques and materials found in a passive-certified home, but without the rigor of certification and at a slightly lower price tag. Keep reading to understand the key differences between these two sustainable home options and choose which route is best for you.
Passive-certified homes must meet very specific standards set by Passive House Institute United States (PHIUS). Unlike LEED and other “point accumulation” green building standards, Passive Home certification is based on actual performance results.
Certified homes are extremely well-insulated and virtually air-tight, which greatly minimizes the loss of heat. This means no furnace (you read that right) and extreme energy efficiency. This is primarily due to an incredibly tight and highly-insulated building envelope, solar-conscious design and a Heat Recovery Ventilation system. Heating a typical passive home can be accomplished with a single 1000-watt heater. Heat from people, lights, appliances and the sun does the rest. In the hotter months, the home stays delightfully cool without the need for air conditioning. Shading and well-planned window orientation also helps to keep the house at a comfortable temperature.
A passive-inspired home provides the many of the same features, technology, and performance goals of a certified home, without the extra costs and rigor of having third-party certification of your structure. For example, many of the high-performance, passive-inspired homes that Clarum builds include triple-paned windows and high-performance doors, a Heat Recover Ventilation system, Structural Insulated Panels roof and walls, solar power system, and high-performance framing. Inside, the homes feature tankless, on-demand hot water, energy-efficient appliances, and water-conserving plumbing fixtures. This approach results in the same energy-efficiency, comfort, sustainability, and health benefits of a passive-certified home. The chart below provides a comparison of cost, energy efficiency, and value between inspired and certified homes:
Designing and building a passive, high-performance home takes planning and communication—and knowing where to spend money and where to save it, as well as how to create a highly-efficient building process with low embodied energy. Before the first shovelful of dirt is turned, sit down and communicate with your architect, builder, and suppliers to review the plans and ensure your new home meets all of your sustainability, efficiency, comfort, and air-quality goals.
Want to learn more about how Clarum can help you build the sustainable home of your dreams? Give us a call at 650.322.7069