We all want to save money and reduce our carbon emissions. Believe it or not, the average home in Houston spends $1,800 on their annual energy bills, which means there’s a lot of room to save.
Thanks to modern technology, you can easily lower these expenses just by improving the building itself. Luckily, it’s more straightforward than you may think!
Let’s talk about passive house Houston and what it can do for you!
Passive House Houston: What Is It?
Before we discuss the steps to designing a passive house, let’s first define what we mean and explain why it’s so necessary.
To put it simply, passive house construction seeks to optimize your home for obtaining passive heat from the sun during the winter, minimizing heat during the summer, and insulating your home for proper temperature control.
Using highly insulated walls, high-performance windows, an airtight enclosure, and heat recovery ventilation, a home can absorb and retain as much of its heat as possible without the need for ongoing expenses or resources.
Of course, some of the benefits are obvious. Bringing in more sunlight means more free heat and free light during the day, and strong insulation means you will retain more of that heat and you won’t have to spend as much on your heating bill.
These simple changes can add up to serious heat and light gains, which won’t only reduce your monthly expenses, but will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. On average, your home creates far more emissions than your vehicle, both of which account for up to 60% of domestic emissions.
Also, if you lived in Texas last winter, then you remember how serious the winter storm was and how many lives it endangered. Without reliable access to electricity in your home, you need to have access to a heat source. It could save your life.
1. Use Proper Insulation
Insulation is the foundation for a passive home design. Improving your heat gains will only do so much if it all escapes from your home.
Believe it or not, an average of 35% of all heat is lost through your walls, which means 35% of your heating bill is attributable to that. With the right insulation, you can dramatically reduce heat loss.
One of the best types of insulation for sealing your home’s envelope is Rockwool, which is mineral wool made of fibrous material. It’s formed by spinning molten minerals such as slag or ceramics This material is both fireproof and soundproof, as well as state-of-the-art insulation.
2. Locate the Sun
For most of the time, especially when you need it, sunlight will come from the south if you live in the northern hemisphere. In the summer, when the sun will be north of Houston, you’ll want to limit the amount of passive solar heat you take in.
Consequently, a passive house design in Houston will have limited windows facing north and as many as possible facing south to allow for the most passive heating during the winter. This will save on your utility bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and bring more natural light into your home when you need it the most.
This may also include removing any obstructions from your windows to allow for more natural light to come in. High bushes and other obstructions will interfere with passive solar light.
3. Insulate Windows & Doors
Windows can contribute well over half of your heat gains in your home, but they only account for an average of 3% of heat loss when properly sealed. Without proper insulation, air leaks around windows and doors can take a lot more than 3%, even up to 25%.
4. Proper Ventilation
There is more heat in the average home than most people realize; it just isn’t going to use. Without proper ventilation, heat will rise to the ceiling and escape without ever traveling to other rooms or improving your comfort.
With proper ventilation, activities like cooking and bathing, which both supply heat, can passively help to heat your home. This is known as energy recovery ventilation or ERV.
Sure, your kitchen may get hotter when cooking in the oven, but with passive ventilation, these heat gains can benefit your entire home.
Since you’re already cooking, this is just another way to save money on your utilities and reduce your overall energy consumption. If you’re already generating heat and humidity, why not put it to use?
5. Find a Passive House Contractor
When building or renovating a home, it’s best to keep the passive design in mind. The sooner we transition our living situations to this type of design, the better off our planet (and wallets) will be.
However, it’s still a relatively new concept, and not every construction team or architect is up to the challenge. For that reason, it’s best to find a passive house construction team with the right expertise.
A passive solar building can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your time living in your house, but only if the job is done right. Find the right team for your needs and get started today!
Build Your Dream Home
Now that you know how passive house Houston designs can help you save money, why wait? If you’re looking to build or remodel your home, then it’s best to talk to a skilled contractor today for more information. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start your new life in your dream home and save money!
Stay up to date with our latest renovation tips and feel free to contact us with any questions or for help with construction!