Introducing: The Flatrock Passive House
Upon investigating current building standards, I realized that the Canadian Building Code is below the standards necessary to really make a difference in energy consumption. There are some standards like R2000 which can make a difference to total energy usage. A R-2000 home can use up to 50% less heating energy compared to a code built home; if built properly! A blower door test will reveal the truth about that.
Now....Imagine living in a home where you have employed 5 guiding principles during design:
1. Super efficient envelope: Super-insulated, thermal bridge free walls that are air tight.
2. Efficient layout of mechanicals: energy efficient wiring, efficient plumbing layouts
3. Controlled Ventilation: Use of a HRV/ERV to control the amount of ventilation and recapture energy
4. Integrating passive elements: Using large south facing triple glazed windows to capture solar energy
5. Use of renewable energy: This could be anything from PV to solar thermal to a wood stove.
If I told you that this home will use between 80%-90% less heating energy than a code built home you would think I was off my rocker!!! If I told you that my hot water costs are now going to be the largest part of my electrical bill you would say that's not possible!! Well, it is possible!! I didn't fall of the rocker!! I stood up and started looking...and realized that there is a whole lot of science that has gone into creating buildings with energy efficiencies you wouldn't think were possible in a cold climate. Such a crazy standard does exist! Its called Passivhaus and although the origins were in Canada, it was researched and refined in Germany.
To put the power usage for a house like this in perspective, most homes around the size of our house are using up to 30000 kWh per year. It's an early estimate but we are expecting that our annual energy usage for the new home to be 8000 kWh! A whopping 75% reduction in energy usage! How is this possible....science....and a lot of it!
Here are some links that may be of interest:
Passivhaus Institute http://passiv.de/en/
Passive House Institute - US http://www.phius.org/home-page
More to come about this amazing standard...stay tuned!!!!