PROTECT is an environmental podcast, hosted by design writer, Angela Fedele, that explores encouraging stories of sustainability, ocean and animal protection, which I was recently interview on. The show will feature regular guest interviews with climate change advocates, organisations, and concerned citizens who are creating authentic and accountable change.
People love the idea of Passivhaus, however, they are often ‘freaked out’ when they start reading outdated and misinformed articles about cost premiums.
This article sets out to provide an informative understanding of costs associated with Passivhaus. If you are looking to build a project home, which has have a low square meter rate, the premium to go Passivhaus will be high. However, with a higher budget the premium to go Passivhaus can be kept to a minimum, be cost-neutral, or result in a saving.
Is there a premium to go Passivhaus?
This section explores examples where Passivhaus can be cost neutral, achieve savings, or requires a premium:
European Cost Premium
In Germany, where the Passivhaus standard originated from, it is estimated that the extra construction costs to build to Passivhaus is typically somewhere between 3–8% when compared with a standard build. Whilst, in the UK the increase is around 5%.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of Passive House (Passivhaus):
1. Global Warming: by building a Passivhaus you are helping to do your part towards the environment. In Germany a study confirmed that Passivhaus buildings had an average energy saving of 90 percent over conventional homes.
2. Ultra-low energy bills: Passivhaus has strick criteras for certification. These include the maximum use up to 15 kWh/m2 per year for heating and cooling, as calculated by the Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP), or a peak heat load of 10 W/m2, based on local climate data.
3. Fresh clean air distributed throughout the building: one of the most important elements of Passivhaus is the mechanical ventilation, which constantly replaces the polluted indoor air with fresh filtered outdoor air that reduces exposure to dust and allergens.
4. Comfort: Passivhaus strives to maintain a comfortable, even temperature throughout the home, with the difference between radiant temperature (i.e. the temperature of windows, doors, and surfaces) and air temperature being small, which assists in eliminating draughts. Thus, you can sit near a window and not feel cold in the colder months.
5. Peace and quiet: due to the high-performance windows and external doors, a Passivhaus reduces the noise from the surrounding environment.
6. Low risks of mould and condensation: Passivhaus is also designed to have a low risk of mould and condensation, both within the building structure and the interiors.
To learn about the basics of Passive House (Passivhaus) click here.
Chris Nunn, Australian Passive House Association chairperson, is quoted saying “In light of the dissatisfaction many people have with the current building stock – in terms of quality, and the cost to keep warm and cool – this early growth of Passive House in Australia is the beginning of a new era of high quality, high performance, ultra-low energy buildings that Australians will really appreciate.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QxFM9y0tY Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old climate activist delivered this powerful talk in August 2018. “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions,” Thunberg says. “All we have to do is to wake up and change.”
I recently was fortunate to visit a new build Passivhaus home during construction in a rural setting in South West Victoria. I had connected with the owner via Instagram, and she kindly invited me to visit when I was next in the area.
I grew up in the area, and know how brutal the winters can be down there. The day I visited there was no exception, with torrential rain, high winds, and a top of eight degrees. So it was a perfect day to visit a Passivhaus and personally test it’s high performance. Read more…
The main reasons for using the Passive House (Passivhaus) low-energy voluntary building standard for a new build home, renovation, an/or extension are health, comfort, economics, and energy efficiency. One of the key strengths of this building standard, is that studies have proven that the built performance closely matches the predictions of the PHPP modeling software, resulting in no performance gap. Thus, the software is accurate and takes the guess work out of the design stage.
JCA is a design practice specialising in bespoke high-performance, ultra-low energy, comfortable and healthy residential new builds, alterations, renovations, and extensions in Melbourne and regional areas. We are a client orientated practice where each design evolves from working closely with you to understand your individual brief and aspiration; with the end result being a tailored personalised design.