Sustainability for Tomorrow: Passive Home Construction

You may have heard of the passive home craze taking over in recent years, from award-winning actor Bryan Cranston’s home outside of Los Angeles to Toronto’s very first certified passive home in 2019.

What you may not heard of is how passive homes are constructed or even what it means to be a passive home. Luckily, we have all the information you will need to understand how passive homes are saving the planet, saving homeowners money, and how you can start your very own passive home project in Ontario.

What Is a Passive Home?

A concept finalized in Germany, a passive house (or passivhaus) is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency within a building or residential home. The designation is given to low-energy buildings that require little power to maintain space heating or cooling.

What is unique to passive homes is how many avenues energy efficiency is established through. From building materials to architectural design, this designation is anything but a supplement of materials. In fact, and average passive home in Canada reports an average of 80-90% reduction in annual heating and cooling costs when compared to a traditionally built home.

Depending on your local climate data, passive house requirements and performance may change, however, there are several features that remain standard throughout Europe to even the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). These include features such as:

  • Low-energy appliances and lighting
  • Untraditional heating methods
  • Natural or architectural ventilation
  • Airtightness
  • And Superinsulation

The biggest take-aways of passive home construction are the reduced carbon emissions, reduced operating costs, an increase in indoor air quality, improved temperature control, and fewer incidences of moisture or mould accumulation.

How Passive Houses Are Built

The key to building passive homes is all in the design. Specifically, builders are trying to ensure tight thermal envelopes with insulation and impressive architectural techniques.

Amazingly, with the sophistication of software and technology, builders of passive homes can feed data into a computer program to help aid in the design process. Factors that professionals will look for include local climate data, geographical features around a proposed construction site, the direction of the home, and many other variables to achieve optimal energy reduction through every means possible.

Passive homes may often seem modern in look, but when done right, the only tell-tale sign that your home is different will be thicker than average windowsills. This allows for professionals to decrease the chance of thermal bridges.

Avoiding Thermal Bridges with Insulation

A thermal bridge is where two materials meet on a home, such as a roof and an outer wall, or where studs interrupt insulation. These areas within a traditionally built home are often the source of lost heat and energy, costing owners thousands over years of use.

A well-made passive home avoids thermal bridges with the use of carefully planned insulation, often referred to as superinsulation. When done properly, superinsulated houses have dramatically reduced heat loss and gain and, when paired with other techniques of heat recovery, will also protect your home from changing seasons.

It is this process that often enables passive homes to forgo the typical gas and electric heaters homeowners are used to. The impact creates a property that can withstand temperature changes, moisture, mould, and the rising prices associated with energy consumption.

Have Trust in Your Insulation Provider

With over 40 years of refinement in our practices, Climatizer has been able to establish a product that contractors trust. Our specially manufactured cellulose insulation has been part of 1000’s of projects to ensure powerful insulation properties for homes across Canada all while maintaining environmental sustainability.

Made from up to 85% recycled materials, our cellulose insulation is a no-brainer for a passive home project. Reach out to us today to see how our environmentally conscious insulation can meet your goals.