In a perfect world we would have designed our house to be a passive house from the very beginning. They are design principles after all! However, as I’m sure you know it’s not a perfect world and we were lucky enough to buy a vacant postage stamp piece of land with approved house plans. Although we weren’t involved in the original design process with the architect to create the house design we liked the plans and were happy to build it as our home. We are very impressed with the use of space and how a three bedroom home can fit on a block of land the size of other peoples backyards!
Rather than start from scratch and create a new passive house design we are aiming to build the house as a passive house. To do this we need passive house experts on our team.
We found our passive house expert via friend after I posted on Facebook about our land purchase and passive house dreams. We are incredibly grateful to the architect who we have engaged that she is willing to take on the challenge of working out if and how we can convert someone else’s design to comply with passive house principles to achieve if not a passive house, then at least a high performing building.
Not only is our passive house expert happy to work with us on a design we inherited, she is also supportive of our plans to make a compact house a family home.
The first step was a passive house feasibility study to see if it was possible. It looked like it could work – so we kept going. It is a challenge as the small site and approved complying development certificate (CDC) leave no wiggle room to change the building envelope, we can only really play with materials and construction methods.
Our passive house expert is now doing a full modeling process for us to recommend how we avoid thermal bridges, create air tightness and insulate appropriately (all within our strict budget) to help us achieve a high performing energy efficient home. I think it’s quite a brain teaser for her and again we are grateful she accepted the challenge despite the imperfect process.