Not all energy efficient home are truly passive. How to know for certain you’re getting what you’re paying for
Putting A Rolls Royce Badge On A Toyota
There is nothing inherently wrong with replica products (like furniture and grocery items). Some ‘no brand’ products are as good as the originals they are modelled after. But when you are paying top dollar for a premium original, you want to be sure that’s what you’re getting. This is especially true when you are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for (what you think is) a Certified Passive House.
As energy efficient building is becoming more popular, builders, real estate agents, and even product suppliers are using terms like ‘passive house’ quite loosely (i.e. dishonestly). As a result, homeowners are too often paying for a ‘Rolls Royce’ and getting a ‘Toyota’.
What Makes A House Truly Passive?
All passive houses are energy efficient. But not all energy efficient homes are passive. A Certified Passive House provides the highest levels of all-year comfort and energy efficiency possible.
A house cannot simply be labelled by anyone as a Passive House after it is built. It must have passed rigorous standards of energy efficiency at every stage of the design and building process. These standards are monitored and certified by the International Passive House Institute. Only then will your house receive a genuine Plaque of Certification.
Two Tests For A Passive House
ONE: The certification process for a Passive House involves using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). This requires a Passive House Consultant (to guide the process) and a Passive House Certifier (to verify the result). If you’re not paying fees for these extra services, you are not getting a Certified Passive House.
TWO: Building a passive house requires extreme attention to detail in both the choice of building materials and the workmanship that goes into installing them. In order to monitor this, the Passive House Institute require builders to document these things through a series of photos including wall junctions, window installation, roof assembly, insulation, and all product labels and stickers (insulation, glass etc.). If your builder is not sending these photos to the Passive House Institute for verification, you are not getting a Certified Passive House.
Even when your home is fully built, it is still not certified until everything (including your ‘as built’ plans) are sent to the Passive House Institute. It usually takes 6-8 weeks for everything to be checked and verified before you receive your plaque of certification.
Is Certified Passive House Worth It?
That’s obviously a personal choice. But once you’ve experienced the benefits of a truly passive house – the energy savings and stable 18-24 degree internal temperature when the outside temperature dips below zero and sores towards forty – it’s hard to go back to living in a normal house.
When people who own passive houses visit friends, they say it feels like going from a Rolls Royce to a Toyota. It still gets you there, but instead of arriving refreshed after a perfectly smooth, whisper-quiet ride, you’re exhausted from every bump and the constant wind and road noise.
But if your budget won’t quite stretch to passive certification, we offer a range of High Efficiency and Improved Custom Homes that follow the exact same standards. Although they may not reach quite the same comfort and energy efficiency levels of a Certified Passive House, they far exceed standard homes. While not quite a Rolls Royce, they certainly reach Mercedes standards (at a Toyota price).
For more information about building a Certified Passive House or Energy Efficient Building, we invite you to book a Free Consultation where we will answer your questions and show you the most efficient and affordable way to get an energy efficient custom home you’ll love forever.