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.

PV tracker at the Passive House in the Woods

PV tracker at the Passive House in the Woods

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.”

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