Links for current videos of the progress are available for viewing or downloading on the Photo Gallery page.
About This Site
Herein we tell our story of building and (soon) living in a Passive House™ in Michigan, a cold climate area of the USA. As a data monitoring system is implemented and as we can afford it, various measures of the building environment and energy consumption will be displayed. We also explore sustainable living practices and why we are have made these choices, with hopes of inspiring discussions, explorations and implementations by many others.
What is a “Passive House™”
A “Passive House™” (or “Passivhaus™” in German) is a building which is certified to have met a very low quota of maximum heating & cooling energy consumption through super-insulation and super air-tightness. This capped maximum energy consumption level enables a building to meet all its heating and cooling needs with the ventilation air alone, thus eliminating the need & cost of a furnace or boiler. The Passivhaus Insitut was established in Europe in 1996 to promote this Standard, and there are now over twenty thousand Passive Houses™ voluntarily built to meet it across the different climate zones of Europe because it can achieve the lowest building life cycle costs. With this building, we are aiming to meet the Passive House Standard, resulting in a home that uses about a tenth of the energy of the average American household – and with the unusual building technique we have chosen, determine if this technique has the potential to reduce the costs of doing so. Passive Houses™ provide good indoor air quality and superior thermal comfort, and often cost only a little more to build than a conventional house, though are much more durable.
Why are we doing this?
It is abundantly clear, with more supporting evidence being added every week, that if we humans (and many other species too) are to survive with a reasonable quality of life, we – particularly in the “developed” world – must reduce our consumption of energy and resources, and our production of non-biodegradable non-recyclable wastes. There are many opportunities and options for doing this just with existing technologies and materials, mostly only limited by our imagination and our commitment. This particular house is one demonstration of and experiment with the use of some building materials not commonly used this way, and there are many, many others.
We, as humans, as Americans, are greatly under-utilizing our creative capabilities to meet challenges such as global climate change and our over-dependence on carbon-based fossil-fuels for energy, food and transportation. This building is part of our personal explorations of ways of meeting those challenges, as we migrate onto renewable energy sources for our daily living needs.
Schedules – Building and Visiting
Broke ground – June 2011. Continued thru December 2011. Active construction resumed May 2012 and has continued since then.
Next public tour: 10am – 4pm Saturday, October 5, 2013 (the next ASES National Solar Tour). The house will not be complete by then, but the fundamental shell will be half-finished by then. The first public tour was October 6, 2012, while under construction, for the ASES (American Solar Energy Society) National Solar Tour (http://ases.org/solar-tour/about-the-tour/ ).
If you wish to contribute, we need help with the following:
– Physical labor for assembling the building
– Determining water storage system materials for solar hot water and rainwater
– Sizing of hydronic systems components
– Performing a life-cycle assessment of the building
If you wish to help, please see the “Contact Us” page.