Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 | Page 27

What is a Passive House ? A passive house is one built within a particular set of design principles . These principles attain a quantifiable level of energy efficiency and specific levels of comfort . According to the Passive House Institute US ( PHIUS ) the following are the five principles that guide the development and construction of a Passive House :
1 . Continuous insulation through the entire envelope ( exterior ) of the house without any thermal bridging ( heat transfer )
2 . Building envelope is extremely airtight preventing air transfer
3 . Employs high-performance windows and doors
4 . Utilizes some form of balanced heat and moisture recovery ventilation ( allows the home to ‘ breathe ’) with minimal heating and cooling systems
5 . Solar gain ( heat from the sun ) is managed to exploit the sun ’ s energy for heating purposes and minimizes the sun ’ s impact during the cooling seasons
The concepts that make Passive House systems unique are not new . Developed in the 1970 ’ s as a response to the OPEC oil embargo , passive house building standards seek to cut carbon emissions and greatly reduce energy consumption . It has taken over 30 years for this building system to make its way to Indiana despite the fact that some of the research into superinsulation happened just over the Illinois border at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign .
Indiana ’ s First Passive House In the summer of 2015 Indiana ’ s first certified Passive House was completed . Builder Dan Porzel of Cedar Street Builders created Project 580 in Zionsville , Indiana . It is one of only 125 homes to meet the Passive House criteria in the United States . Architect Cara Weber of Delv Design teamed up with Porzel to design the beautiful , “ modern farmhouse ” style home that boasts 2,600 square feet above ground , with four bedrooms and two and a half baths . It ’ s energy efficient certifications are many : LEED for Homes , Energy Star , EPA Indoor AirPlus , DOE Zero Energy Ready and Passive House Institute Certified .
Project 580 Features
• Insulated concrete form foundation
• Walls made of structural insulated panels
• High-performance triplepane windows
• HVAC System 90 % smaller than traditional
• All Electric ( natural gas fumes would be dangerous in a passive building )
• Annual Heating Cost : About $ 140
• Annual Cooling Cost : Under $ 50
• Designed to maximize southern solar heat
The foundation of Project 580 was built of insulated concrete forms . The envelope of the home is made from 12 ” thick Structural Insulated Panels ( SIP ) that have an insulation R-value of 52 . Compare that to an average stick-built home where the walls are insulated with a R-value 13 to 15 . ( R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in building .) The roof is also made of prefabricated SIP panels that are designed to accept the addition of solar panels in the future . The passive-certified windows are a high-performance triple-pane glass that tilt and turn to aide in the airflow of the home .
With such a tightly sealed home one may begin to wonder how does the home “ breathe ?” The Energy Recovery Ventilator is the solution to this problem . It functions to keep air moving in and out of the home with the least amount of energy transfer as possible , creating even temperatures in the living environment . In addition this system improves air quality far beyond conventional HVAC systems . Currently there is no data on