Experts Weigh in on the Most Efficient Way To Build Homes for the Future

Passive building principles can help homes to maximize the energy used inside of them, reducing the impact of utility increases outside of our control.

“It’s a marriage of efficiency and rigorously applied physics,” per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review, paraphrasing passive house expert Bronwyn Barry.

Beginning in Canada around the time of the oil crisis, passive building has been around since the 1970s. Among the designers who realized how much energy was being lost through modern construction methods, with ventilation and competent insulation important for effective energy saving was Harold Orr.

According to Microsoft Start, MIT’s report noted that “heat loss and gain through standard windows accounts for 25% to 30% of residential energy use.”

Homes built with passive building principles don’t have a uniform look. Orr’s first build, the 1978 Saskatchewan Conservation House, is a trapezoid covered in cedar that resembles modern art. Meanwhile, a couple in Montana built their own hobbit-like home out of cob with extra thick walls to conserve energy. 

But you don’t have to be Picasso or Frodo to appreciate the value better building concepts can bring to your bank account and the planet. 

Phius, a Chicago-based firm that certifies passive buildings, said proper construction can realize energy savings of up to 60% compared to common builds. 

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