Curious to learn more about the Passive House standard and what sets it apart from regular building standards? Start with our FAQs below and contact us if you have any further questions.

What is Passive House?

Passive House is an internationally recognised building standard that delivers a building that requires very little energy for space heating or cooling. The result is a home that provides a warm and comfortable living environment. The temperature is even throughout the home and operates typically between 68F and 77F degrees, while consuming minimal energy. Passive Houses consume between 75%-90% less heating energy than a conventional house.

Where did the Passive House movement begin?

The origins of the Passive House standard were developed in Germany, where Passivhaus (German spelling) is the world leading standard in energy-efficient construction. The Passivhaus Standard was introduced in 1991 by Dr Wolfgang Fiest who then founded the Passivhaus-Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. The Passivhaus Standard is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. ZeroNet Home builds all of their homes using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) which verifies the performance of each building in the design stage. We then work with the client to achieve either the ZeroNet Home Euro, equivalent to the Certified Passive House standard or ZeroNet Home Pacific, which requires a more energy for heating but still significantly less than a standard home in California.

Is the Passive House approach only for houses?

No, any building can be built to the Passive House Standard. ZeroNet Home have designed and built a yoga studio and offices to the Passive House Standard. There are also plans to build schools, rest homes and commercial properties as the Passive House benefits become more widely known.

Does it cost more to build a Passive House building compared to a standard build?

In some cases, it is possible that it is the same cost, but for an individually designed residential home typically the benchmark cost is 10-15% more than a standard home. The square metre rate is difficult for us to provide for building a Passive House, as the local climate region and individual design specifications and other key considerations have a big impact on the final cost.

Passive Houses are built to a higher standard and perform at a higher international certified standard than a code build. As such, the initial upfront investment costs are often slightly higher as a result of the more intensive planning and superior components involved. However this is soon realised over the lifespan of the building due to the extremely efficient performance and incredible low running costs. Also due to the high quality of the build the maintenance of the building is lower e.g. no condensation and mould to damage the internal fabric of the home, saving on maintenance time and money.

Can you open the windows in a Passive House?

The answer to that is Yes can!

In a Passive House though, you probably won’t feel the need to do so and it is not necessary throughout most of the year. In a code build house people are encouraged to open the windows as it’s important that houses breathe and also to ensure stale air as well as odours and moisture can dry out. But Passive Houses are different. The ventilation system provides constant high quality indoor air, automatically removing moisture and ensuring all year round comfort. The result is a space that has no draughts, and a constant supply of warm fresh filtered air. The Mechanical heat recovery system also removed 98% of pollutants from the air – ideal for those who suffer from asthma or allergies.

Do all Passive Houses have to look the same?

Not at all, ZeroNet Home Passive Houses are all architecturally designed to your preferences. There is an unlimited range of external cladding options and a lot of flexibility for the shape and layout when designing and building your ZeroNet Home.

What kind of energy savings can I expect from a Passive House build?
Savings in energy for an ZeroNet Home Passive House are between 75-90% on a standard build.
How long does it take to build a Passive House?

The same as a standard build, 6-11 months depending on the size of the house.

How will I know my Passive House is legitimate?

Many of our ZeroNet Home designers have passed exams to become Certified Passive House Designers (CEPH2) and all energy modelling is completed by a certified passive house consultant. Our ZeroNet Home builders located throughout California are all members of Registered Master Builders or the Certified Builders Association and most are Certified Passive House Tradespersons (CET) who have an in-depth understanding of the Passive House standard and the techniques to build it.

We also recommend having your ZeroNet Home Passive House independently certified, this provides you the assurance that all the Passive House criteria have been met.

Do Passive House buildings use solar panels, geothermal systems and wind generators to achieve their excellent energy efficiency performance?

Onsite energy production is now a common choice for new homes and this is something that ZeroNet Home offers as a part of the total solution. But we always follow a fabric first approach, and this is the real secret to the energy efficiency offered by ZeroNet Home . A ‘fabric first’ approach to building design involves maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems.

California has many different climate extremes – will Passive House work in Northern California and in Southern California?

Yes, in fact Passive House has been adopted in more than 60 countries around the world with far greater extremes of climate than we experience in California. The team at ZeroNet Home have invested hundreds of hours to translate the Passive House model across the 18 different climate zones in California.

The clever part is in each climate region the internal comfort and consumption of energy is the same. Whether your ZeroNet Home Passive House is in Northern California in the middle of Summer, or Southern California in the middle of Winter, the internal temperature of every room stays between 68F – 77F degrees.  Providing you with a healthy, warm and comfortable environment for your family to live.

Don’t have any land yet but interested in building a Passive House in the future?

We can sit down and discuss the potential cost of building a Passive House and what we can achieve once you have land.  Although we can’t promise what the final cost will be at the start of a new design we will not commence the project unless we are confident that we can make it work within your indicated budget.