A “passive house”, from the German passivhaus, where the concept originated, is a way of building homes in an extremely energy-efficient manner. A true passive house not only demands very little energy for heating, cooling and electricity, it also wastes almost no heat or air through leakage. Often, a passive house is built with such a high quality building envelope that very little energy is even needed to heat (or cool) the dwelling in the first place. Passive houses utilize natural solar energy in cool climates, and well-placed landscaping in warm climates, in order to reduce energy needs. Check out these eight passive house amazing concepts—including residential homes, apartment buildings, and even a kindergarten!
Kaisermuehlenstrasse Apartment Building
This multi-family apartment complex designed by Treberspurg & Partner Architects was built in Vienna, Austria. The climate-neutral design is deal for dense urban environments (there’s a subway station just across the street) and uses very little energy. The building features solar panels on the roof, which not only reduces demand for fossil-fuel generated electricity, but lowers electricity bills for the building’s residents.
Passive House Oijen
Ariens Architects & Engineers designed this stunning single-family passive house in the Dutch countryside. The home features a sunny glass-topped porch, a pond, and a bathhouse. The south-facing side of the house features the most windows and the PV solar panels, and is also where the bedrooms and living rooms are situated. The steeper, north-facing side of the house features mostly storage areas.
The Halo Dome
The Halo Dome, located in Genglou, China was constructed by Simon Law Anthill Constructions. The client, British furniture designer Timothy Oulton, wanted to create a space for the brand’s designers to visit and communicate in the center of a factory and campus complex filled with residential dormitories, landscaping, and food-producing garden. The Dome was built using sustainable timber and passive house standards, using an insulated stone floor as a heat sink, and LED lighting to keep the electricity demand extremely low.
The Dragon Kindergarten was designed by CF Moller Architects and finds its home in Odense, Denmark. The building features increased insulation, dense walls, heat recycling, and low-toxin building materials. Children enrolled here can play and learn on a variety of sunny, well-lit structures, levels, and indoor and outdoor play areas—including a giant dragon sculpture.
Peter Legge Associates Architects are behind this stunning modernist single family passive house in Meath, Ireland. The house, clad in wood, features a hi-tech building envelope which insulates the home. Any heat or hot water needed are provided by a solar PV array and a wood-burning boiler stove.
Vancouver Island Passive House
Located in the cool coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest, this passive house was designed by Marken Design + Consulting. The two-level single family home features low water flow fixtures, local and sustainable lumber, no-VOC products, native landscaping, and drain water heat recovery.
Kolon E+Green House Korea
Unsangdong Architects teamed up with Kolon Institute of Technology for this unique and stunning prototype passive house—the first in Korea. The experimental design features include solar arrays, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, and rainwater harvesting from the massive green roof.
Taos Passive House
This adobe high desert passive house in Taos, New Mexico, was designed by Zero E Designs. It’s unique in that it’s not only a certified passive house, it’s also LEED platinum certified! The house is lit by LEDs and CFLs, and features insulated twelve-inch-thick walls, a solar PV array, and rainwater harvesting.
Lead image via Flickr User Oskar_N