Our Passive House

Brainstorming – Ways to Keep Cost Down

Posted in affordability,passive house,zero energy house by Elizabeth on April 20, 2010
  • less than 1500 square feet
  • two bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining combined, one smallish office/extra room, one bathroom instead of two
  • no garage
  • Note the focus from ecolab of “designing delightful and energy-efficient buildings to especially serve low- to middle-income families, providing them with safe, affordable, and environmentally healthy homes.” See Smith House (1200 sq ft) and Fairview House (1300 sq ft) in Illinois.

The Journey Begins

Posted in zero energy house by Elizabeth on April 20, 2010

So yesterday my partner and I were talking about peak oil, climate change/breakdown and our future. And we were looking at this amazing house that we would like to buy – that is 100 years old and very inefficient. As much as we are in love with the house (cute cute cute, great yard…..) it came down to: if even the more minor predictions are true about the future rising cost of fuel and the coming climate breakdown (did I mention that my partner is a political scientists who studies this?), why are we even considering buying a traditional house? In the end, mostly it was because we want everything to be fine and to be able to keep living life just like we are living.

But, this doesn’t seem likely, so even though we are not much of do-it-yourself-ers, we certainly don’t have very much money, and we aren’t really gung-ho about taking on a house building project ourselves, we’re going to do it.

My partner is German so he is familiar with passive houses which are more common in Germany. After a lot of googling, we found out that in the U.S. they are often called zero energy houses.

We were surprised to find that there really isn’t a “how to build yourself an affordable zero energy house” guide on the web, so we thought we’d document our (probably slow) journey here.

So here we go. We really really welcome feedback from others who have built zero energy houses. Seriously – we have no idea where to start. We’re just going to start emailing around and read articles/books.