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What is a Passive House, anyways?

At our Casa Aguila project in Ramona, we are working towards building San Diego County’s first Certified Passive House. Here’s a little bit about the passive design, first developed in Germany:

2014-PH-basic

 

Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. “Maximize your gains, minimize your losses” summarize the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these six building-science principles:
  • It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
  • The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  • It employes high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors
  • It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
  • Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies–from single-family homes to apartment building to offices and skyscrapers.
Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants–to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long -term benefis in addition to energy efficiency:
  • Superinsulation and airtight construction provides unmatched comfort and even in extreme conditions.
  • Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air assures superb air quality.
  • A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.
  • Passive building is the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings because it minimizes the load that renewables are required to provide.

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