Small and Modern Nearly Passive Home

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Small homes might well be the answer for people looking to downsize, but are not quite ready to go all the way to a tiny home. Small homes, which usually measure upwards of 400 sq ft are also more fitting for families, while still allowing great overall savings. This so-called starter home was designed by Paul Hennessy of Park Homes in Christchurch, New Zealand, and it is small, affordable and built to Passive House standards.

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The home is very modern and measures 430 sq ft. It also rests on a trailer base, so it can even be moved around at need. The wheels are hidden from view when the home is not being transported using a screen made of structural insulated panels (SIPs). The latter were also used to construct the walls of the home. The home has a very unique and interesting exterior cladding, which is made of aluminum composite panels (ACP). It’s not a common building material and is usually used for billboards, and there may be some fire safety concerns associated with it. The home is very well-insulated and even though it is built to passive house standards, the actual performance numbers were not revealed.

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The interior is comprised of an open-plan living and kitchen area. The kitchen is quite spacious for such a small space and looks comfortable to use. A hallway separates the living area from the bedroom, bathroom, and office, which can also be used as a second bedroom if needed. While many small home designers do not opt for hallways, since they are a bit of a waste of space, Paul wanted to make his small home look more like a regular one.

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The bathroom is of a decent size, and features a sink, shower and toilet. The main bedroom is also quite large for a small home, with enough room for a closet. There is also storage space hidden under the bed.

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The main goal of building this home was to create an affordable “starter home” which appears like a regular house and could serve as a first house for young couples. According to Paul’s estimates, it would cost around $55,000 to build this home, which is indeed affordable. The home is also earthquake-resistant.

A Passive 3D Printed Tiny Home

Ukrainian engineer Max Gerbut has just unveiled the prototype of PassivDom, which is a passive tiny house with many intriguing features. PassiveDom was built using 3D printing technology, and according to Max, it is the first completely autonomous house in the world, since it does not require any fuel combustion of any sort, no matter where it is placed i.e. not even in an Arctic climate.

PassivDom measures 387 sq ft (36 sq m) and features a 3D printed carbon-reinforced fiberglass frame. It has vacuum panel insulation and, according to the designers, it meets the stringent Passivhaus or Passive House standard. This is quite a feat since the home features a lot of glazing. They achieved this by using windows that they developed themselves, and they claim these are “the warmest mass-produced windows in the world.”

The home is powered exclusively by solar energy, which feeds the heating and cooling system, the water generation system, and the air quality and oxygen control system, as well as all household appliances. This is achieved via rooftop mounted solar panels and a system of lithium phosphate batteries, which together produce and store enough energy for 2 weeks of autonomous running, even when there is no sunlight in that period. That’s quite a feat.

The interior layout is simple, but functional. The living space takes up most of the home, and is used as the bedroom at night. There is a small but functional kitchen, as well as a bathroom, which is separated off from the rest of the home.

They have already announced pricing. The complete, fully autonomous package, which includes the self-sufficient power system (solar panels, batteries, inverters), an independent water supply (water storage, a powerful purification system, and independent sewage) as well as all the appliances, furniture, and water tanks costs $63,718 (59,900 EUR) which is very low, given all the features of this home, as well as the cost of the components.

NYC to Get Its First Passive Apartment Building

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New York City will soon get it’s first passive house apartment building. The development is called Perch Harlem and will be built in a way that uses 80-90 percent less energy than traditionally constructed buildings. It will be located in Hamilton Heights in Harlem. The company behind the construction is Perch Living, while the interiors will be designed by the firm Me and General Design.

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The entire seven-story complex will measure 40,000 sq ft (3,716 sq m). There will be 34 one or two-bedroom units, which will be sound proof and smell resistant, to give the residents a comfortable living experience. The building will have a glass façade, and all the interior spaces will feature reclaimed wood floors.

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In terms of sustainability features the building will feature 8-in (20-cm) insulation at the front and rear of the building. High performance triple-pane glazing will be installed throughout. There will be a special system that is capable of storing heat output from cooling systems in the summer to produce hot water. All the apartments are also compartmentalized in a way that minimizes air movement.

Each unit will also have a central heating and cooling system and an energy-recovery ventilator, which will all be fully customizable by the residents. The units will feature large fixed windows which will let in plenty of natural light and warmth into the apartments, while there will also be smaller windows which will be fully operable.

Perch Harlem’s estimated energy use is 9.57 kWh/sq ft (103 kWh/sq m) per year, while the blower test, was recorded 0.6 at 50 Pa, so obtaining a Passive House certification will be easy.

Smart technology will be an option for residents to monitor and adjust setting in their homes. Among the other amenities will be a rooftop terrace, storage areas, car and bicycle parking, a residents’ lounge, a private gym, and a virtual doorman, with the option of providing concierge services via an online portal.

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Perch Harlem is slated to be completed by May 2106, while they are also planning to build another one in Brooklyn in the near future.

Passive Home That is Just Perfect

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The so-called Right-Sized Oak Park Home, designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley is a great example of how a passive and sustainable house does not need to be about giving up comfort and other modern conveniences. It boasts of a number of sustainable features and certifications, yet still fits right in with the other houses in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood, which is famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright house.

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Right-Sized Oak Park Home is a 1800-square-foot, single family house. It is seeking a number of certifications, including Passive House under PHIUS 2015, LEED-H Platinum, Net Zero Energy, and HERS. These standards are achieved by a combination of the home’s smaller size and its ultra-efficient thermal envelope. The home is also fitted with very efficient fixtures and appliances, and uses just a fraction of the energy of a traditionally-built house.

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The home features a continuous ventilation system, and only non-toxic, formaldehyde/VOC-free finishes were used in order to ensure optimal indoor air quality and comfort of the inhabitants. Due to the small footprint of the home, there is enough room for a large garden, and a patio with an outdoor fireplace room.

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The home was also fitted with Zola Thermo uPVC, triple-glazed windows with insulated uPVC frames, which have a great performance. While these windows are more expensive and bring up the building costs considerably, it is very important to install highly efficient windows when pursuing the Passive House standard.

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This new home is also in line with architect Tom Bassett-Dilley’s manifesto, which aims to promote a simplified, healthier and more sustainable means of constructing homes, without actually sacrificing the comforts of modern day life. Among other things he promotes homes, which are just the right size with no unnecessary rooms, or basements, extra bathrooms, formal living rooms and the like. He also promotes constructing homes with the right orientation to ensure proper shading and prevent heat loss in the colder months, and building compact dwellings with airtight envelopes, and efficient lighting, appliances, and mechanical systems, as well as use of natural, non-toxic finishes.

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Modern Home That’s Sustainable Through and Through

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The architecture firm LGA recently designed a new house in Toronto, Canada called the Bedford Park House. This home was designed and built in a sustainable way from the ground up. The home blends in with the neighborhood, and is spacious enough for a large family, all while being very green.

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The home measures a sprawling 3,100 sq ft (288 sq m), with the actual structure being quite compact which minimizes thermal bridging. The walls, roof, and slab are well insulated, and have R-values of R-28, R-40 and R-30 respectively, while the envelope was made airtight. To further prevent heat gain or loss, Argon-filled windows were installed throughout the home.

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The house also takes advantage of passive natural ventilation, which is mainly achieved by having the windows placed in such a way that allows for a good cross draft. There’s also a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system in place, but it’s to be used only when required. The home also features a geothermal heating system, which is linked to the radiant floor heating system. The temperature in each room in the home can be set individually.

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The home was also oriented in a way that allows for maximizing solar heat gain in the winter, while minimizing it in the summer. To further ensure this, the wall-to-window ratio was kept at 60:40, and deciduous trees were planted around the home to provide shade. The trees were also planted in such a way as to not obstruct the views, but rather to frame them.

Solar panels have not yet been installed, though the home is pre-wired so that they could easily be added in the future. Also, only natural paints and finishes were used in finishing the home, to keep the air clear of pollutants.

The Bedford Park House was built in late 2014 and proves that green elements can become a part of the design of just about any kind of home.

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