Let’s talk about passive house. Passive House has it performance based rating system for energy efficiency in residential buildings as well as commercial buildings. The goal for passive house is to live through a performance-based system rather than a prescriptive based system to rate the energy efficiency of our building construction. So passive house is, was originated for residential construction in Chicago, Illinois. but then quickly transferred over to Germany. We’re really grew into a robust energy rating system for residential construction as well as multifamily construction.
Passive House is a truly off grid solution for residential and commercial buildings. Architects in Michigan can help you design a passive house designed project, in order to get off the grid. Truly. So what did, what did, what does it really mean to be off the grid is that you try and consume as little energy as possible by through your building rather than trying to add solar panels and wind farms and battery backups to a regular standard construction building. the more energy that you have to consume is really less sustainable in the long run. And so that’s where the performance-based system versus a prescriptive based rating system excels and shines through. So passive house, a performance based system means that the building has to meet certain criteria in performance. So that is during or after construction versus just checking off boxes of materials and products that you install into the house.
So a better energy efficient building that can perform to a two factors for passive house, which would be, a overall energy consumption in BTUs per year and in air tightness test to make sure that there’s no or very minimal leakage air infiltration in or out of the building. So in order to achieve this performance based system, architects in Michigan can help you design three or four things for your passive house, continuous insulation. So in order to achieve a very low energy consumption, you need to have your building wrapped in a hundred percent insulation. This means that it is a thermal bridge free construction. So standard construction has a lot of hard material like wood and metal and a plastic, you know, vinyl siding, things like that, that are in contact with the outside elements. But a thermally bridge, a thermal bridge, free construction would minimize any of the hard material in contact with the outside.
So imagine just wrapping your body in a blanket. You’re essentially doing that for a building. You’re wrapping it in a continuous barrier of insulation that separates the inside of the building from the outside of the building. air tightness. So air tightness is a key metric for passive house construction. And so in order to achieve air tightness, you would need to have a blower door test done on the building. So that essentially is done at two parts, two phases of construction. One, when you have all the walls, the roof, the floor, and all the doors and windows installed, but you don’t have insulation or you, you know, finishes and things like that. so you can test for the blower door test. architects in Michigan can help you find a certified passive house blower door consultant and you can then have a blower door test done.
And your goal there is to achieve 0.6 air changes per hour at a negative pressure of 50 pascals. So all that technical jargon means that the building construction has to be very, very airtight in order to achieve the goals for passive house. And so the second time you would do that is, if you have past a air tightness test during the middle of construction, as I mentioned before, then you most likely will achieve air tightness at the finish of the project, but you still want to test it again at the finish in case there are any nail holes or leaks or cracks, penetrations in the wall or roof assembly, that could lower your energy efficiency or tightness rating of the building. So again, you would still want to achieve that 0.6 pack, air changes per hour. And so obviously the lower the number, so even approaching zero, which would be extremely airtight, like a balloon, but anywhere between 0.3, four, five and six would be ideal for a passive house construction.
The next step toward passive house construction would be triple pane windows in order to have the highest performing window And in your passive house building. because what’s a good insulated wall and an airtight wall, if you punch a bunch of holes in it that don’t have the same energy conscious construction in mind. So architects in Michigan can definitely recommend some triple pane windows that have a thermal bridge free construction in the frames, so there’s no energy transfer lost through your windows and doorframes. so that’s a benefit that, our office can do for you. another step for passive house construction, a really critical step. so kind of a least last but not least, scenario solar orientation. So orienting your building to the south in our northern climate here in Michigan, would be ideal. So the more directly south facing the longest elevation of your house or where your commercial building is, the better access to the son that you have cause you want to be able to harness the free energy from the sun.
And architects in Michigan are trained to design your home and your commercial building, appropriately toward, the sun and have that southern solar exposure. and what this does for passive houses that you can maximize your gain from the sun in the wintertime and shade it in the summertime. And that way you have, energy efficient and using as much of that solar energy to heat your building to make sure that it’s comfortable indoors, around the year. so shading is also critical to that and we can also design those elements for you. So what makes Sedgewick and Ferweda Architects stand out as architects in Michigan doing this type of work is that we have designed to passive house certified projects in the state of Michigan. one in the Holly area and one in the upper peninsula of Michigan. And both were designed with the passive house goals in mind, and both are achieving exactly as they were designed. So the performance based system is completely proven in these two projects, and Sedgewick and Ferweda Architects are leading the way in Michigan to making sure that we are building better buildings and making better environments for the clients and occupants, throughout the state of Michigan.