The benefits of passive houses

05 May 2023 | Investment

Before we discuss the benefits of a passive home, you may be asking yourself, what is a passive home? Well, the textbook definition is; buildings that are designed to rigorous standards of energy efficiency, providing a comfortable, healthy and sustainable solution to buildings. 

In other words, passive homes have been designed with a number of measures that help to heat and cool homes in a more economical way to the extent where you likely won’t even need a heater or cooler to keep the temperature of your home comfortable. Why are we hearing about this so much more recently? Well, it’s simple – people want to live in more economical homes, not only because it may be more cost-effective when it comes to running them in the long term, but also because they’re better for the environment, too.

It’s worth noting that passive homes faced some resistance when introduced in Australia, as some believed they were only suited for colder climates and not suitable for Australia’s warmer weather. However, this perception was dismissed when China successfully constructed passive homes capable of withstanding various climates, ranging from cold to hot and humid. So, how can you achieve a passive home?

Here’s a Certified Passive House checklist;

  • Appropriate levels of thermal insulation
  • A design that reduces thermal bridges
  • High-performance windows and doors (usually triple-glazed glass)
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
  • Airtightness

1/ Environmental Impact

Creating a passive home means you are doing your part towards protecting this planet we call home. If your home is a passive design, it can eliminate the need for additional heating or cooling, leading to lower energy bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Australian Passive Housing Association, a passive house can save up to 90% of the energy used to heat and cool a conventionally built property. 

2/ Money Saver

The largest selling point: low energy = low bills. If your home is made specifically to handle the climate during a hot summer day, you no longer need to run your AC all day long. You can easily enjoy the comfortable temperature of your home (and enjoy those minimal electricity bills), which leads us to our next point.

3/ Resilience

Passive homes are designed not only to regulate your indoor temperature but can withstand extreme weather conditions. Whether it’s a heat wave or a cold snap, passive properties are more resilient and durable to the weather. Passive houses are also designed to have a low risk of mould and condensation, both within the building structure and the interiors, leading to less long-term building maintenance costs. 

It all sounds great, so why are there currently only 25 certified passive homes in Australia to date? Well, it all comes down to the initial up-front cost of building a passive property. It is common to be living in a home that someone else has built, not yourself. Speaking in general terms, developers and builders need to be concerned with costs when building a home to make a better return on their investment and typically, this passive building phenomenon is quite rare, so it could be more costly to find experts that can help you achieve this style of build. 

The status quo could be shifting though, as we see more people concerned with the long-term costs associated with running a home; particularly as we see gas and electricity bills increase throughout Australia. The environment has also come to the forefront of the discussion, as we see more people making more decisions swayed towards sustainable living. These factors are sparking greater demand for passive houses to be available for people. Although the up-front cost may be higher, people who are building a home to live in are more driven towards footing this cost as it actually saves them money in bills in the long run.

If you’re looking to find out more about passive homes, or even about how you may go about building, or upgrading your home prior to selling it with energy efficiency in mind, it’s clear that demand for this type of living is going to keep increasing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at MPG for some guidance.