Passive homes can be seen throughout history in many different regions around the world.
Building around the climate to make homes more efficient and comfortable indoors has been employed by common sense builders for centuries. However, the term passive houses was coined and researched for more widespread use in 1990 when the first home to include the name was initiated and built by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist.
This type of structure utilizes passive energy and passive solar gains.
Passive designs are intended to make the most use of shading and daytime sunlight. In addition to being well ventilated, they also employ heat sources from the indoors, using heat recovery systems to capture warmth and redistribute it.
This makes this type of build exceptionally energy efficient and capable of saving as much as 90% in heating costs alone.
Passive houses are also known for their indoor comfort. Highly efficient insulation, attention to airtight seals and other features like triple-glazed windows help to maintain the internal temperature.
There are many great examples of passive home designs.
One from Christina Zerva Architects has a unique look, as well as a gorgeous site located in Nikaia, Greece. In addition to the home’s passive solar design and other impressive green features, it also has breathtaking views.
Passive solar homes include materials that enable it to gather solar energy and can also aid in deterring heat from the sunlight with sufficient shading.
The façade on this home has an interesting look with a bridge system made up of mirrored glass. This offers an unusual presentation, but actually serves to hold numerous solar panels.
Another example from Craig Sheiles Homes applies passive solar principles with strategically placed walls and radiant heat systems.
This home in Perth, Western Australia, also makes use of the indoor to outdoor space and well placed windows and doors that enhance the ventilation.
Passive homes are environmentally conscious constructions with smart designs. They not only reduce carbon emissions, but also offer considerable savings each year and throughout the life of the home.
For more information, the Passive House Institute has compiled resources regarding certified construction, including requirements and a checklist. Additionally, River Architects has put together an informative slideshow presentation on passive homes.
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