In 2012, DC Habitat will begin construction on six passive townhomes as part of its work in the Ivy City community of Northeast Washington.
Passive housing will provide our homeowner families with an ability to consume significantly less energy overall and to greatly reduce their water usage. These benefits will not only save the homeowners money, but will empower them to create a more sustainable lifestyle. The passive house model embodies Habitat for Humanity’s vision that all people deserve safe, comfortable, affordable and sustainable homes.
Passive House Principles
So what exactly is the passive house model?
In short, the term passive house originated in Germany as a reference to the rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency used in construction of a building in order to reduce its ecological footprint. Passive homes use a combination of low-energy building techniques and efficient power generating technologies, such as solar energy, so that energy consumption is much lower than that of homes built to traditional codes. The concept involves a shift in approach to both building design and construction.
Increased efficiency is accomplished through: optimizing the building envelope; developing a highly efficient, micro-mechanical system; and implementing a strategic lighting and day-lighting scheme—thereby enabling the minimal use of solar energy. The home not only requires less energy, it also generates some of the power it needs for heating and cooling and benefits from cleaner indoor air.