Passive House for the masses – one day, maybe

While the science of Passive Houses is not new, the application of this technology to small scale, pre-fabricated and – crucially – affordable dwellings is.

Working with a client who is a keen Passive House enthusiast, this was the vision for a research project we recently conducted. 

Together with our client who brought the science and maths knowledge required to illustrate how a small dwelling, constructed with SIP panels and partially subterranean fabric, could achieve Passive House qualities, our Architects explored the practical and application of the model – considering layout solutions and implications, the impact on servicing, landscape and quality of living, amenity and privacy. 

Our research concluded that while there may be a place for such a collection of dwellings on certain sites (perhaps those with sensitive landscape settings where conventional dwellings wouldn’t be appropriate), the commerciality of these homes, primarily due to land take and plotting efficiencies, doesn’t yet add up. 

While there is certainly the case for the Passive House concept for those exceptional sites, we aren’t yet able to apply the technology and make the financials work for traditional homes. Despite these findings, it was a fun project to explore and one we will continue to review – you never know, maybe that special site will be identified and the concept can turn into a reality.