What is a Passive House: A Non Technical Perspective

After acquiring a plot of land in Los Angeles, which had a small house dating back to the 1950s, we debated on how to convert it into a dream house, while being on a budget.We explored remodeling, prefabs and erecting a new house.We discussed wood versus steel structure; two on a lot for income building or a single family dwelling; our options seemed endless and confusing, until Marco did extensive research and came across passive housing. As he kept reading architectural literature, he became convinced that this was the route he wanted to take.

Marco, being an aerospace engineer, he tends to get too technical in his explanation of concepts and when he gets energized, he tends to be difficult to follow.He throws in words like thermal insulation, ecologic footprint; words that just do not seem to equate to a dream home in my head. I still, to this day, do not pretend to have a full understanding of its functioning, so here is an attempt to describe the advantages of building a passive house.

Apparently, the interior of ones home tends to be more polluted than the quality of air outside, even in polluted cities.Materials from furniture and house fixings emit noxious gases that are harmful to breath.In a passive house, there is a filtering system that continuously brings fresh air indoors and takes out unhealthy emissions.Making it healthier to breath.This filtering system also keeps house odors out.

The walls in a passive house are so thick, that they keep the heat and cold out, making the temperature indoor pleasant all year long.

Windows are triple or double glazed which muffles sounds outside.It is so quiet inside a passive house, that one can hear themselves thinking!

All the above feature, optimize energy consumption making it the favored method of green building and it is no wonder that it has been gaining traction in Europe since the nineties, mostly in Germany.It is starting to trend in the US, so that will make us among the pioneers of passive house building in Los Angeles and we are looking forward to seeing it come to fruition.

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