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.

Gorgeous and Light-Filled Passive House


Passive homes are often criticized for being more about satisfying rigid and strict guidelines than about being a home to somebody. But thankfully, that is starting to change in recent times, as is clearly demonstrated by the so-called Tigh na Croit house recently built in Scotland. Just looking at the pictures I’d never guess this was a Passive Home, due to its modern design. It’s spacious, full of natural daylight and must be quite comfortable to live in. it also recently won the Passivhaus award, given out by UK’s Passivhaus Trust, in the Rural Category.

The L-shaped, single story house features a large open plan kitchen, living and dining area, as well as three bedrooms, a cinema room, a utility space, and a storage area. The main living areas have a southern orientation, and open onto a small but functional terrace, so the occupants can better enjoy the surrounding countryside. Which is absolutely gorgeous, by the way.


The bedrooms face eastward in order to make the most of the rising sun. The home also features large windows throughout, which offers great views, and connect the occupants with the outdoors. The home also features a number of skylights. They installed an air source heat pump and a wood burning stove to provide heating, while the bathrooms are fitted with electric towel bars, which are powerful enough to heat up the space.


The design of the home also looks nothing like the Passive homes we are used to seeing, as in it’s not boxy with small windows. Hopefully, this home is one of the heralds of a new era of more occupant-friendly Passive House designs.

Modern Passive House


Passive homes tend to be a little boxy and unappealing, which is probably the reason they haven’t caught on as much as they could. So it’s nice to see companies finding ways around that. One such example is certainly the Cousins River Residence, which was designed by GO Logic of Maine. This firm has been making prefab and passivhaus homes for a while now, and the simple elegance of their designs sets them apart from others.


The Cousins River Residence is located in Freeport, Maine. It measures 1600 square feet designed and was built to Passivhaus standards. It is very well insulated with the foundation having a rating of R35, the wall R50, and roof R80. It was also fitted with high performance triple pane German windows, which provide 50% solar heat gain and have a rating of R8. The home also features a heat recovery ventilation system that boasts of an 88% efficiency. The shell of the home is airtight and provides 0.5 air changes per hour at 50 Pa. The home is also near net-zero, and features a rooftop mounted 4.6 KW Photovoltaic array, which takes care of the remaining energy needs.

The specs are great, but what’s also very impressive is that the home is modern architecture at it’s best. The shape of a home is simple enough to blend in seamlessly in any environment, and the color palette they chose is mostly whites and naturals. The single story home features a large living and dining area, with a spacious kitchen at one end. One of the walls of this area is covered by glass doors that let in plenty of natural light into the home, which is something not often seen in passive homes.




The home also features a wooden deck, a screened-in porch as well as a covered walkway. One of the main aims the designers had when planning the home was to provide freedom of movement both inside the home, and between the interior and exterior. They also designed it so that it is easily accessible for both the young and the old, since the current owners plan to spend a long time living in it.



Why North America Needs Its Own Passive House Standard


It’s not just about climate


There’s this thing called passive houseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates.. It’s a terrible name. Almost everyone agrees on that. Look at how its adherents are driven to a frenzy and you’ll see that the name doesn’t really fit. The houses themselves aren’t passive either, but let’s leave that aside for now.

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First Building to Receive the Passive House Premium Certification


The Passive House certification is hard to get, and this is especially true for the Passive House Premium certification. The latter is a new level of certification and was introduced in early 2015. It was created in order to account for the transition of building energy sources from fossil sources to renewable energy. And the so-called House of Energy, a building in Kaufbeuren, Germany, has recently become the first structure to receive this prestigious certification, which certainly makes it one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

The House of Energy has a heating demand of only 0.7 kWh per sq ft (8 kWh per sq m) per year, which is impressive for a building that measures 9,688 sq ft (900 sq m). This is in part achieved by a rooftop mounted PV solar array, which measures a whopping 2,691 sq ft (250 sq m).

The superb energy efficiency of this building was also achieved by installing triple-glazed windows throughout. The house also has a very high level of thermal protection and envelope airtightness, while there are also virtually no thermal bridges. The house also has a very efficient ventilation and heat recovery system, and is fitted with a ground-source heat pump, which provides both heating and hot water. All the surplus energy that is generated is fed back into the grid.

The House of Energy only requires 2 kWh per sq ft (21 kWh per sq m) of renewable primary energy per year. On the whole, constructing this house, as well as ensuring it’s day-to-day operation took advantage of all the well-known sustainable technologies and building methods, yet they are employed to such a high degree that the building merits this highest level of recognition.