Is the passive house approach only for houses?
The approach can be successfully applied to any type of building, including skyscrapers.
The term passive house is something of a misnomer; although plenty of single-family homes have been built to the passive house standard, the approach is increasingly being applied to multifamily apartment buildings and large scale commercial buildings. As a result, the term passive building is gradually coming into more common usage, as it’s a more accurate term than passive house.
Does it cost a lot more to build a passive building compared to a conventional equivalent?
Currently, passive buildings typically costs 5-10 percent more than a conventional building. In general, the larger the building, the less the cost difference. Also, as more large-scale window and door manufacturers bring high-performance products to market, economies of scale are expected to drive down costs.
What’s living in a passive house like? Can you open the doors and windows?
Passive houses and buildings are extremely comfortable in all seasons. That’s because there are no drafts, temperature variance is extremely narrow (even near doors and windows), and active, balanced ventilation makes for superb indoor air quality. And yes, passive house owners open their doors and windows just as they would in a conventional home.
Passive buildings are super-tightvwhat about moisture and mold problems?
Passive buildings do require an extremely airtight building envelope. Combined with super-insulation, this approach dramatically reduces temperature variation, which also prevents condensation and mold issue. The constant, low level ventilation also helps prevent problems, in addition to maintaining excellent air quality. That said, potential moisture issues must be carefully addressed at the design stage. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional.
Do passive buildings all have to look the same?
Though many early passive homes used an austere European style, passive design does not dictate esthetics. Passive buildings can come from dozens of styles, including Cape Cods, a traditional Four Square, and others.