Passive Homes: The Homes of the Future

We live in revolutionary times, or better yet, environmentally revolutionary times and it’s getting easier than ever before to become eco-aware and be the change we want to see in the world by turning our lifestyles sustainable. Yes, ‘energy efficiency’ is the term we hear quite often these days. And it’s more than just a buzzword. In fact, we should all strive to implement this method in our day-to-day lives to help preserve the environment.

Introducing changes to your shopping habits is certainly making a step forward towards turning your life greener. However, nothing speaks “great impact” quite like the choice of housing does. With climate change being one of the biggest issues of our time, it is important we take a different approach when it comes to the way homes are designed and built. Unlike years before when few could afford to go modular, nowadays we have technology and innovation to thank for the affordability of this most energy-efficient home design.

Now that the costs of energy and living are on the rise, it doesn’t take long to see why choosing modular homes is the best decision one can make in the long run. Although both traditional and non-traditional building components of prefab homes are fabricated in a climate-controlled manufacturing facility and are assembled on-site, they look just like traditionally built homes.  However, their quality outshines that of the conventional ones. 

This is so because they’re built in places with a controlled climate so materials are well-preserved unlike on-site used materials affected by the weather, insects or vandalism. Moreover, there are numerous inspections guaranteeing the quality of construction, there’s less waste, and are basically built in no time – about 12 weeks to be specific.

It sounds quite like the investment and if you don’t think this speaks sustainability enough, there comes the passive solar design. Created on the principles of energy efficiency, comfort, eco-friendliness, and affordability, it’s gaining a lot of popularity lately. However, although the term is most likely a novelty to many, it has been around since 1988 when professor Bo Adamson and doctor Wolfgang Feist were connected by the vision of creating sustainable housing without it being at the expense of design.

Why Passive?

The concept is based on the principle of passive heating – heating comes from heating recovery through solar input as well as the body heat of the people inside the house. What’s great about this groundbreaking idea is the fact it’s both at the benefit of the people and the environment. It ensures low energy bills and low carbon footprint respectively which makes it the most energy-efficient home design.

This is essential having in mind an average household in Australia uses up to 40% on heating and cooling costs, or more depending on the climate. Hence, opting for this concept saves up to 90% of energy. This being said, no two homes are the same when considering the passive concept because each and every design depends on the specific climate conditions at the exact location. 

Since Australia has eight climate zones, the very first step in creating a passive solar design is to determine which zone it is and proceed from there. Of course, orientation, thermal mass, shading, glazing, ventilation, insulation, and the building layout must be taken into account as well. In other words, you could have a home that’s stylish just as it’s energy-efficient.

Great Investment

You don’t have to worry that deciding to invest in passive design is going to turn into one you’d regret because there’s a great return on the investment as soon as you move into the home. It is designed to reduce the use of other sources of heating/cooling, which can impact electricity bills in a good way. What’s more, there’s little maintenance involved. Yes, they’re that durable! Additionally, homes based on the high passive solar design standards are much more valuable, hence if you decide to sell one day, you can expect to make a great deal. 

While it’s the most economical decision to acquire passive design when a new home is being designed and built, you can still incorporate some of this design’s features with existing buildings too. Even the smallest renovations and improvements in orientation and layout can bring about a positive impact on thermal comfort. No wonder experts claim that the future is going to be dominated by this green building trend. 

Unmatched Levels of Comfort

Though not many of us think about the issues poor indoor air quality leads to, the fact that most Australians spend about 90% of the time indoors says we ought to start taking it seriously. 

If you ask relatives, friends and acquaintances what word they’d use to describe a home they feel most at home in, you’d often hear comfort. And this is exactly what the revolutionary passive housing offers. This is so due to the fact that it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer without requiring much help from auxiliary heating and cooling, something that also comes in handy in cases of blackouts or natural disasters. 

Apart from the benefits, you can reap financially, and as a consequence mentally which is to be expected from lower energy bills, there are additional health and well-being benefits one shouldn’t overlook.

A home with a passive solar design is comfortable to stay in for hours and hours on end because of the higher air quality. This stems from the better choice of materials, improved insulation, and ventilation (think of the heat recovery process, the air being ventilated, warmed, and circulated), along with the reduced chances for drafts and humidity.

Such a home isn’t the main culprit in cases like respiratory, cardiovascular and chronic diseases, along with the diseases related to changes in temperature. Hence, the residents can expect a reduction in chronic pain and hospitalization, both of which are related to premature deaths. Furthermore, living in one of these homes would mean you won’t have to deal with mould problems.

If you’re a light sleeper and even the slightest bit of noise annoys you, you’re going to love the fact these homes are great in sound insulation too. So, enjoy the silence! 


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