Passive House brings the heat

Published: Jan. 21, 2018 at 11:28 AM EST
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This is the second winter Studio III Architect Gregor Masefield and his family have spent at their Passive House in Lincoln, Vermont. It is a house where a kettle of water on a convection stove can provide the heat instead of a furnace.

"We don't bring gas into the house. We don't have carbon Monoxide. We don't have other issues like that to be worried about," Masefield said.

A Passive House is built based on thermal dynamics and physics. It was first started in the U.S. in the 1950’s through a pilot program. It was stopped. Then in the early 1990’s the project was picked up by a German Physicist. Currently, there are 15 certified passive homes in Vermont. They are specifically designed to conserve as much energy as possible.

There are 6 points of design:


-Air Tightness

-Solar Orientation.

-Thermal Bridge Free

-Great Windows

-A Heat Recovery Ventilation System

"The indoor air quality of this house is many times better than what you would find in a conventional house heating system," Masefield said.

The heat recovery ventilator in the bathroom strips the stale heat from the stale air leaving the house and uses that to warm up fresh air coming into the house. It works in conjunction with a heat pump located outside the house.

"We live outside as much as we live inside and a building that can live in a place like this and have a small a footprint as possible just made a ton of sense," Masefield said.

A Passive house costs about 10 percent more than construction on a standard home. All of Masefield's energy inputs average a total of 75 dollars a month.