Sustainable housing has been around for quite some time, but passive homes are a new wave of sustainable homes that seem to be popping up everywhere. If you're not sure exactly what a passive house or how they're built, essentially a passive home is a home that is designed to be extremely energy-efficient and that won't require a ton of power to heat or cool. To qualify as a passive building the home must include specific building and design elements, particularly that seal it from external temperatures to keep the temperature regulated inside. These passive homes also rely on and take advantage of the existing landscape of the property they're built on. This includes placing the home on the land in respect to the trees which either provide shade or protection from the elements or planting trees and plants on the land that will help to regulate the heating and cooling of the home. For example, planting trees that have leaves that shed in the fall on the south side of the home will keep it shaded from the sun and cool inside in the summer. When the leaves fall off of the trees before winter, this will allow for the sun's light to reach the home in the colder months providing warmth and light throughout the day which can help to heat the house.
These passive house practices have been developed through years and years of research done by the Passive House Institute (PHI) in Darmstadt, Germany and now they are implemented by many architects all over the world. To put it simply, these homes are essentially built like a thermos with excellent ventilation. This particular home shows just how stylish passive homes can be and was built 20 years ago by Andrew Michler. He bought a piece of land with a solar shack on it in Colorado for only $60,000. Well, that house literally fell apart pretty much right away which inspired him to try out off-grid living. Now, he and his wife live that same shack that he's turned into a passive house. The home reduces energy consumption by 90%. The house is in the shape of a wedge which is what help it be energy efficient since it will avoid having any unnecessary surface area and experiencing heat loss. From the outside, the house looks simple enough, but it also has a very modern and stylish look. It's the type of house you could see in a city, but it also fits perfectly in its natural mountain setting too. The front of the home where the entrance is features a shed roof with two tiers and an awning supported by two raw logs giving it some natural influence. They also used wood on the front face of the home with some metal siding on the roof which extends down the side of the house for maximum insulation and protection.
Entering into the home, it's bright and airy with high ceilings that make up for the smaller floor plan. The walls are all painted white which also keeps the space feeling open and airy. Adding in plenty of large windows also helps with opening the home up to the surrounding landscape and brings in some great light from the sun. All of the windows would be triple paned to keep the warm or cool air inside of the home for temperature regulation. There's also a lot of storage space and little nooks which could be made into small seating or office spaces. The staircase is also full of storage which is nice for a smaller space. Upstairs there is a net floor which acts as a large hammock and provides a great place for people to lay down or sleep at night. If you're interested in building your own passive house, be sure to take a look at this one to get some ideas and inspiration.
More about this story can be found at: International Passive House Association