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.

Green and Sustainable Prefab Home

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The so-called Schoolmasters is a sustainable prefab home, which was recently built near Aberdeen, Scotland. It was constructed following the strict Passivhaus guidelines, though they did not seek the actual certification, because they wanted more freedom in designing it. Most of its energy needs are met by harvesting renewable energy sources.

It also features a monitoring and controlling system for regulating the heat and lights via a smartphone or tablet app. The home was designed by architect Stuart Duncan.

Schoolmasters is a single story home, which measures 2,098 square feet (195 square meters. The downstairs area is comprised of a lounge, dining area, kitchen, bathroom and office, while the first floor contains four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The home is connected to the grid and municipal water supply, but, according to the architects, most of the needed energy to power the home is obtained from the rooftop mounted 5.5 kW PV array which can produce 4,400 kWh of energy. Schoolmasters was finished in October 2014, so actual annual performance numbers are not yet available. However, the architects are pretty certain it might be possible to run the home off-the-grid.

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The energy produced by the PV array that is not used for lighting and other electrical appliances is diverted to heat the domestic hot water. The home is equipped with a pellet-burning stove, which is also used to provide hot water. The home was also fitted with triple glazed windows with a special solar control coating to prevent overheating, which help to maintain the temperature in the house. Apart from the underfloor heater for the bathroom, the home is, according to the architect, capable of maintaining a pleasant temperature without the need for heating during much of the year.

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Small Passive House Can be Built in Just 10 Days

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Castlemaine Passivhaus, designed by the Australian architecture firm Carbonlite, was recently awarded the stringent Passive House certification, though the home is far from your typical building to meet this standard. At just 419 square feet, and a build time of only ten days, it certainly has the capability to bring passive construction closer to the general public.

It took Carbonlite only 5 days to prefabricate the home’s sections off-site. These were then delivered to the building site, where it took the builders one day to erect the exterior and make the structure wind and watertight. The rest of the home was constructed in the next 10 days, so all told, the home was manufactured and built in just 16 days.

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The Castlemaine Passivhaus has a mono pitch roof that features an overhang, which works to provide shade and minimizes solar heat gain in the summer. The home has a wooden frame, and it was insulated using wool and wood fiber insulation. The home therefore has an exterior U-value of 0.261 W per square meter.

The home was fitted with a Sanden air-to-water heat pump and its annual heating demand was calculated to be 0.6 kWh/sq ft (6 kWh per sq m). To take care of the ventilation needs of the home the builders installed a Lunos system, which provides the home with an air tightness performance of “less than 0.6 air changes per hour.”

Annually, the home’s heating, electricity and hot water demands are calculated to be only 11 kWh/sq ft (115 kWh/sq m). Castlemaine Passivhaus is also equipped with a PV panel array, which harvests enough energy to offset some of the home’s electricity demand. The home also features a 4,000 liter (1,000-gallon) tank to collect rainwater, which can be used to irrigate the garden, and for other needs that do not require the use of clean, filtered water.

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