What is the difference between passive solar heating and a Passive House?
The two terms sound similar, but they are actually very different concepts.
Passive solar heating is a term that became popular in the 1970s which pertains to the position of a house in relation to the sun. The most important aspects of passive solar heating are windows that face towards the south (in the northern hemisphere), and an extended roof overhang. When warmth is desired in your house in the winter, the sun can shine through the large windows and heat the interior of the home, but in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky and there is a need to keep the interior cooler, the sun’s rays are blocked by the roof overhang.
Passive solar heating is a crucial part of building a Passive House, but there is also so much more to it as well. A Passive House is a home that is super insulated, has low energy usage, and is extremely comfortable. The most impressive thing about a Passive House is that it needs to pass rigorous tests and standards for it to be certified as a Passive House by the International Passive House Association. This means that you can have the peace of mind knowing that your home is proven to be performing at its optimal efficiency.
One of my favourite parts about a Passive House is the comfort it provides. In my opinion, the superior comfort is due to four factors:
- The constant air temperature prevents you from feeling hot or cold. No more spending a hot summer day going from a boiling bedroom on the second floor, and then walking downstairs and having your feet freeze on the cold floor. The temperature consistency is due to a machine called an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator or some people refer to it as Heat Recovery Ventilation) that keeps the air moving efficiently around the home. It keeps warm air inside in the winter, and during the summer will move it outside. The HRV maintains a constant comfortable temperature in your house.
- Fresh air circulating at all times results in better indoor air quality. By using an HRV, fresh air is constantly being brought into the home. Stale air leaves the home, resulting in a more comfortable living space. No condensation, no mildew, no mold, no stale air. Also, your breathing is easier and the nose clearer.
- Probably the most underrated benefit of living in a Passive House is the peace and quiet. With triple glazed windows, 19” thick walls (depending on the climate zone), and no furnace, there is minimal noise in the home. A nice reprieve from the hectic world.
- You will feel happier because your bank account is more cofortable. Passive Homes use up to 90% less energy. That means if your electrical heating bill in the winter is usually $500/month, it would lower to only $50/month! Wow! That makes me more comfortable, and mother nature is happier too.
If you would like to receive more blog posts from me, please subscribe at https://cedarvalleyph.com/subscribe-to-stay-informed/