Here's some things people frequently want to know about sustainability, Passive House, and Passivology.


What do you mean by 'Sustainability'?

'Sustainability' can be applied to a lot of different topics, but the key idea is that a resource is being consumed at a rate or in a way which ensures the resource is always available in the future. This means that the resource is either unlimited, or replenishable. Sunlight is (effectively) unlimited. Timber is replenishable - provided we limit logging so that regrowth can replace the felled trees. Fossil fuels are neither, hence they are not sustainable.

Passivology's main focus is energy-efficient building design - so buildings which are very efficient in their use of energy for heating and cooling. But of course, we also consider the building's usage of other resources such as rainwater and solar energy, and also the construction materials.

OK... so what about 'Passive House'?

'Passive House' is an approach to designing extremely energy-efficient buildings capable of providing year-round comfort in all climates. You can get the high-level details in my blog here, otherwise head on over to these external sites for more information:

Sounds great. But what will it cost me?

I suppose that's a bit like asking "What will it cost to build a house?"... the answer is, of course, "It depends.". Obviously all that extra insulation and high-quality windows cost something. On the other hand, you shouldn't need to install a heater/AC unit, so there's a saving there. As a general guide, you could consider the cost of passive house construction to be between 10 and 25% more than a standard build on the same floorplan and location. There's no getting around the fact that this could be quite a large amount of money upfront. But two points to consider: firstly, a saving of around 90% on the heating/cooling bills over the life of the mortgage could be used to fund the extra loan amount. Further, the lifespan of the home could well be 50 years - hence there is a significant residual value available. And secondly, it can be possible to implement passive house measures in stages so the cost can be spread over a number of years if necessary. For example, insulation and the airtight layer need to be installed during construction, but quality windows could be added later down the track.

There are definitely options to minimize the spend, and this is precisely where Passivology is here to help you.

Is Passive House the only thing that you do?

Good heavens no! I like Passive House because it replaces guesswork and finger-crossing with science and guaranteed performance. It is certainly the ideal approach to designing and building an energy-efficient house, but of course I recognize that not everyone wants to or can go all the way. And that's fine - my recommendations are almost always aligned with Passive House principles, but I'm certainly not so dogmatic as to say that if you're not interested in building a full Passive house, then I'm not interested in helping you! Far from it. The reality is most of my clients at present are not building full Passive Houses. They are generally incorporating at least some elements of Passive House; some have all of the elements, but the extent depends on many factors.