Passive House – Residential Case Study and Next Steps for North Carolina
Want to learn what our industry’s Passive House work is all about? Join us on the morning of September 27th for our fourth Passive House Committee call – get more info on the events calendar!
What’s a Passive House?
Passive house (German : Passivhaus) is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy homes and buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling; a building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological at the same time. Passive House is not only a certification, but a construction concept that can be applied almost anywhere and has stood the test of practice and performance in ranging climate regions across the world. With fundamental building principles including reducing a project’s carbon footprint, improving comfortability, providing healthy/continuous airflow, performing with extreme thermal stability and are affordable to operate – Passive House encompasses these principles into 5 different categories of design:
- Complete thermal insulation
- Efficient windows
- Adequate ventilation system
- Whole-envelope airtightness
- Thermal bridge reduction design
Featured Case Study: REdesign.build Tower Street Passive
Based in Raleigh, NC REdesign.build firm has designed the first of four “Tower Street Passive” projects as modern homes for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in the heart of Raleigh. These homes will have high performance efficiency, practical modern design, and quality craftsmanship that will bring a breath of fresh-air (literally) into the metro area. Will Alphin, owner and lead designer at REdesign.build has constantly been pushing the efficiency envelope with his team, designing and building some of the most sustainable structures in North Carolina. Some key features of this first spec project by them are as follows:
- 3,050 sq. ft. floorplans/home
- Net-zero/net positive energy ready
- Passive house certified
- Ultra high performance triple pane windows and doors
- HEPA filtered whole house fresh air ventilation with high efficiency energy recovery
- Natural cellulose (recycled paper and textiles) insulation
- Intelligent automated operable windows
- Options including solar panel installation, battery storage, electric vehicle charging station, greywater reuse, and much more!
Design highlight: HEPA HRV/ERV System – Dylan Buonfrisco
In our technical tour of this project site, REdesign.build team member and Passive House specialist Dylan Buonfrisco explains the overly innovative and complex mechanical system used in this home to optimize efficiency, dehumidification, longevity and comfortability by reducing the overall loads within the building envelope. Skip to minute 12:38 in the video below to catch the overview!
With putting a major emphasis on using efficiency within the home first by correctly utilizing the passive house design categories and principles – this innovative, sustainable home should be completed by this October, 2018. Be sure to watch the full video highlight of this home featuring both Will and Dylan from REdesign.build!
Next Steps for Passive House in North Carolina:
To keep this progression of high performance construction in North Carolina, how can we begin to talk about obtaining proper valuation for these homes? On our latest Passive House Committee call, a few of our members had great ideas in advancing the market of not only Passive House but gaining more traction on incentivizing efficient design. Through recognizing market value and the proposal of optional tax programs to gain rebates and incentives, we could shorten the gap between homeowners, builders and appraisers to further “green” our industry. Here are a few initiatives NCBPA would like to advance with the help of our Passive House advocates and members:
- Currently, NCHFA’s annual QAP plan is up for public comment; this is a great opportunity to push for PH points in the multifamily affordable housing program. Give us your feedback!
- Advancing energy code in both residential and commercial building can help us lead efforts for the 2019 policy session; participate in the Passive House Committee call and check out the code change request form to help brainstorm on advancing code in the future. What’s our goal? Let’s boil down a reachable, fundamental part of the passive house design principles to make progress in prioritizing change that could potentially make the largest impact on energy code.
- Try to incorporate Passive House design fundamentals in existing efforts of appraiser trainings to add value and appreciation to these sustainable homes and buildings.
- Increase the generation of Passive House communications and continued education through site visits, networking events, and public info sessions in collaboration with green builders across the state.
Next NCBPA Blog: Passive House topic –
Passive Principles vs. Passive House Certification (coming September/October 2018!)
Have questions? Contact Abby directly at Abby@buildingnc.org or 828-507-2472. We will provide a recap of the video tour in our weekly newsletter but hope to see our members and fellow Passive House advocates join us on the committee call!