A passive house is one that can maintain a comfortable interior temperature year round without the use of active heating or cooling. They go further than a solar-powered home, and certified passive homes must meet a set of stringent criteria. These include not exceeding 120 kWh annually in heating and cooling energy per square meter (10.76 square feet) of living space. They must also be comfortable, however. By way of example, during the summer cooling season interior temperature cannot exceed 25°C, or 77°F for more than 10% of the hours in any given year.
Despite these strict requirements, passive homes as described by the Passivhaus Institut come in many shapes and sizes, since their specifications depend largely on the environment they’re located in. They often make use of natural shade measures like trees or geography to help maintain the desired temperature.
Though this may sound like a lot of work, there are a huge number of benefits to buying or designing a passive home.
Though passive homes can cost more than a traditional home to build, they offer an incredible amount of savings in the long run. Without the need for a heating or cooling system, passive homes can use up to 90% less energy than your average house.
Another driving factor for the creation of passive homes is the positive impact passive homes can have on the environment. This is directly related to the lowered energy usage, which ultimately reduced the carbon footprint of the home. In addition, the attention paid to the surrounding environment in building a passive house can mean that homeowners feel more connected to the land they live on.