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The Power of the Passive Home

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The Power of the Passive Home

Passive homes have been gaining traction since the 1990s, but they have recently been a much talked-about topic in the building industry. The term “passive homes” refers to homes that are designed to reduce its ecological footprint by requiring less energy for heating and cooling. Passive homes often have reduced heating/cooling bills and require less oil and natural gas consumption. According to Passepedia, passive homes use about one tenth of the energy used by average houses.

Designing and building a passive home requires extreme attention to detail. Instead of getting heat from conventional energy systems, passive homebuilders create strategies to use internal heat sources, such as people, lights and appliances. They also rely on solar energy, high-performance windows, strategic shading, and highly insulated building envelopes. Passive homes must have an airtight design that allows for high levels of natural insulation.

Passive homes create a ventilated, more efficient living area. The airtight living situation creates a continuous supply of filtered air that fills the home while the stale air is exhausted from service spaces. The elimination of thermal bridges is essential to create an airtight passive home. The lack of drafts, leaks and temperature variance prevent condensation and mold.

When building passive homes, builders look to use more natural resources for the structure as well. Passive homebuilders often turn to wood because of its great natural insulation. LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier Sheathing makes an excellent contribution to passive homes with its ability to block up to 97% of radiant heat, thereby reducing an attic’s temperature up to 30° F.

A common misconception about passive homes is that they are expensive to construct. According to the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), the cost of building a passive home is only about 5%-10% more than an average home. And passive home-building is not limited to single family dwellings. Just this year, the first multifamily structure built to meet passive housing standards was completed in the Harlem borough of New York City. Be on the lookout for this growing trend in your region.

The above home may not have been built using LP products and might not be a passive home.

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