Tom Moore Builder

Green Building Blog

Words from Passive House Design Homeowner

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Stating that her annual projected costs for heating and electricity should not exceed $600, the homeowner writes this about living in her high performance home:

passive house


My house is super comfortable year round, using mainly a ventilating unit, operable windows, the concrete mass floor, and wood stove to control the indoor air temperature, thanks to the smart siting, triple pane windows, and roof overhangs designed into the house. There is no air conditioning system, the house remains in the range of 65 to 85 all year, with little intervention needed from me. The floor is always cool in summer and relatively warm in winter. Whatever is happening outdoors, it is *always* more comfortable inside the house than outside. Occasionally in the summer, I need my small adsorptive dehumidifier after several days of high humidity, to keep the house in the recommended humidity range for the house.

My average annual net metered electric energy consumption is around 5 kWh per day, including all power, appliances, hot water heating, cooking, cleaning, and lawn work. I have a high speed clothes washer and no clothes dryer–my clothes are almost dry when they come out of the washer. My thermoelectric refrigeratoruses around 60 Watts of power, about the same as an old fashioned incandescent lightbulb. All of the light bulbs in my house are solid state (LED). In the fall and winter, the refrigerator is off most of the time, because my mud room is usually at a suitable temperature to keep food and dairy from spoiling, the mudroom functions as my walk-in cooler.

My house and appliances burn zero fossil fuels. I do not have oil or fuel tanks or a gas line. My solar hot water panels preheat my 80 gallon domestic hot water tank in the range of 5F to 120F, with up to 110F preheat on a sunny winter day. My hot water tank heater is permanently shut off at the panel–the sun is my boiler. An instantaneous electric hot water heater bumps up my hot water supply to 120F when needed. If there is extra heat left over in the tank during spring, fall and winter months, I divert it via the heat exchanger into the radiant floor system using thermostats in the bedroom and bathroom. The tank temperature eventually stabilizes at around 70F, the typical temperature of the house.

The ground loop running under the house pre-heats the ventilation air in the winter, and pre-cools it in the summer. The energy recovery unit transfers heat and ensures that the house remains at a comfortable temperature year round while providing ample fresh air even when the windows are closed.

Author: kikamca

Traveling with Steve to San Francisco to the International Association of Laryngectomees Annual Meeting and Voice Conference!

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