The Hudson Star Observer followed up with Gary Konkol this week to see how he’s doing in the house without furnace. Read the entire article here.
I’d like to add that $25.25 of Dr. Konkol’s electricity bill goes to the service fees, which means the actual cost of electricity consumed in November was only about $35. It will be interesting to track this over a year and report back an average, since these winter months are going to be more energy intensive than the swing seasons and the summer. In addition, November was incredibly cloudy in the Town of Hudson, leading to very little energy production. And before I forget to mention it—the electricity bill is the only utility bill at the house, so the $35 included the entire energy purchase for heating, ventilation, hot water, and household electricity.
One of the frequently asked questions I get about Passive House is its potential for going off the grid. I summarized different levels of energy independence in a Google knol.
Passive House buildings use very little energy to begin with. Therefore, it is a lot easier to utilize renewable energy sources such as solar or wind to offset a Passive House’s energy use. Renewable systems are much smaller than they would have to be for standard construction buildings, which saves investment cost.
Many different energy sources are a viable option for Passive House because of tis inherently small energy footprint. This make Passive House buildings very flexible and future proof.
One of the key goals of Passive House is to insulate the owner from an uncertain energy future. The buildings we build now will likely be around for 50, 100, or more years. Therefore, they will have to function in an era where the fuels we commonly use now may no longer be viable. That point may be reached long before the actual resource is consumed, as pointed out by former Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani in 1973: “The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”
Anytime I speak to people about Passive House there seems to be some confusion with the Passive Solar Design ideas from the late 70s. I created a quick outline to compare the two and show which is what: Passive House vs. Passive Solar Design at Google knol.
Join us during the 7th international Passive House Days on Friday through Sunday. We will open the Passive House in the Woods for public viewing from 10 am to 4 pm each day. Gary Konkol (owner) and Tim Eian (TE Studio) will be on site to answer your questions and demonstrate how the home functions with every day use. We look forward to seeing you in Hudson.
Mary James at Lowcarbonproductions just published her second book on Passive Houses in the U.S. called “Recreating the American Home”. I am happy to announce that the Passive House in the Woods project is one of the feature projects in the book. You can find more info and purchase the book here.