I will be lecturing at a Passive House Minnesota event on February 3, 2011. Please find the specifics at phmn.org. I’ll be talking about the Passive House building energy standard, as well as the Passive House in the Woods. I’ll be joined by PHMN board members, as well as Josh Crenshaw, who built the Passive House in the Woods. I also expect vendors to showcase their PH-specific products at the event.
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.