Alaskan Home Awarded Title of World’s Tightest Residential Building

by , 05/21/13

Dillingham, alaska, world's tightest house, energy efficient house, eco home, passive house,

Marsik and Donalson are not house builders, but they decided to build their own home in Dillingham, AK. Most homes are heated using heating fuel, but the couple decided to cut out this costly energy resource and build a really energy efficient home that relied only on electricity. The 24×24 ft building is only 590 sq ft with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. One of the bedrooms is lofted above the main living room/kitchen.

Keeping the design of the home simple helped the couple achieve the efficiency goals they wanted. The walls are 28 in thick with with both cellulose and fiberglass insulation resulting in R-90 walls, an R-140 ceiling, R-35 floor. All of the seams were taped both inside and out to minimize any air losses through tiny cracks. Their design was roughly based on Passive House standards, but does not achieve the certification. The home also features triple-paned windows, a heat recovery ventilatory, a heat pump water heater, Energy Star appliances and low-flow fixtures.

The entirely electric home uses only 3,760 kWh annually compared to the average home in the area, which uses 5,930 kWh plus 700 gallons of fuel oil. Annually, electricity costs for the home are only $900, which was achieved through a combination of living modestly in a small house and building a really energy efficient home. The house also holds the record for being the tightest residential building in the world with an ACH rate of 0.05 at 50 pascals. This means that the entire volume of air inside the home leaks out at a rate of once every 20 hrs. The Passive House standard requires an ACH of 0.6. Built for only $159,000, the home is designed and ready for to go off grid as soon as funds are available.

+ NZE Ready Home in Dillingham, AK

Via Jetson Green

Images ©Kim Donalson

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1 Comment

  1. Greg Blonder May 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    An excellent example of diminishing returns. This “tight” a house will suffer from excess humidity and poor air quality unless they incorporate an air-exchanger. These units are at best 95% efficient. Which means the effective ACH is much lower. And, the 5% represents a heat loss, that drops the effective R value closer to 20.

    In other words, if the house is to hold human life that cooks and bathes, it does not pay to go beyond the passive house standards. Their attempt is well-meaning but misguided.

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