Passive Homes

Passive Homes Orange County NY, Ulster County NY, Bergen County NJ area

Call on Kevin Gremli Construction to build your passive home in the Orange County NY, Ulster County NY, and Bergen County NJ area. A passive house is designed to be extremely energy-efficient. It doesn’t take a lot of power to heat or to cool. To be designated as a passive house, a building must adhere to a set of practices that seal it from outside temperatures while maintaining a stable inside temperature and high air quality. We’ve been involved in building passive homes since the 1990s, and have numerous examples in our portfolio for review.

What is a Passive House?

A passive house is designed to be extremely energy-efficient. It doesn’t take a lot of power to heat or to cool. To be designated as a passive house, a building must adhere to a set of practices that seal it from outside temperatures while maintaining a stable inside temperature and high air quality.

These practices were developed over decades of research conducted by the Passive House Institute (PHI) in Darmstadt, Germany. Today, the practices are used by thousands of architects, developers, and contractors all over the globe.

When you call a house a “passive house” you’re saying that it was built to the PHI’s rigorous standards for insulation and energy.

Advantages/Benefits of a Passive House

• Passive houses are so energy-efficient, heating and cooling them costs dramatically less than in other homes.

• Passive homes are more comfortable than a house where the inside temps oscillate between sweltering and freezing.

• The air quality in a passive house will also be exceptional. A passive house eliminates any staleness or fumes because air is constantly circulated and filtered.

• Passive homes are also more resilient to power outages or other emergency situations. Even without electricity, the home will stay at a comfortable temperature for far longer than the average building, making it a popular choice for hospitals and senior residences.

Modern Farmhouse, Westtown, NY

More Benefits of Passive Homes

How Does a Passive House Work?

Think of a passive house as a thermos… a thermos with really good ventilation! If you want a space to maintain temperature, whether it’s a thermos or a house, you follow many of the same rules.
• Passive homes need to be air-tight
• Passive homes need to have continuous insulation
• Passive homes need to have triple-paned windows
• Passive homes need to have a great system for controlling air quality.

The passive home’s design also needs to eliminate a phenomenon called thermal bridging which occurs when the temperature of one material transfers to another through physical touch. An example of thermal bridging is a room feeling cold in winter because the steel beam supporting the floor is touching the freezing brick on the facade.

By thermally sealing off the interior of a space, a home’s internal temperatures are more stable. Implementing passive house techniques is enough to make a home 90 percent more energy efficient than the average house.

How is a Passive House Built?

Ninety-nine percent of a passive house is made with the same materials, methodologies, workers, and schedules as a non-passive house. Most of the passive house work takes place in the design stage because every element has to work together to produce the benefits of the methodology. It doesn’t make sense to have a fresh air exchanger if the home’s windows leak. So generally it’s a matter of increasing insulation and thermal isolation in the design. Actually executing a passive house build is fairly straightforward.

How Expensive is Passive House?

Generally, the larger the house, the less its passive elements will impact the overall budget. A normal-sized passive home will typically add between 5 to 10 percent to the construction budget.  A large project can be 2 to 3 percent more expensive to achieve passive house standards.  But it continues to become more and more affordable as research into new materials and efficiencies evolve.

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