A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 11)

The rear exterior of my Passive House Those of you who have hung with me through this extended series of blogs now have a pretty good idea about how a highly energy efficient house is put together. You know that it’s not just lots of insulation between the framing members, it’s also [...]

By |2018-08-30T14:45:36-04:00October 29th, 2015|Categories: Articles by Mike Trolle, BPC Principal|Tags: , |

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 10)

This is an energy recovery ventilator which runs 24/7/365 to bring fresh air into the house while recovering the energy in the air to essentially pre-heat the fresh air. It uses about as much energy as a CFL light bulb. Because my heating requirements are so small, my house does not need a [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 9)

In my previous blogs, I’ve written about how the foundation, walls, and roof of my house are built using familiar American construction materials; but they are framed, air-sealed, and insulated somewhat differently from conventional building practice to create a thermal envelope that requires much less energy to heat and cool than a typical new home [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 8)

Let me answer the rhetorical question I asked at the end of part 7 of this series.  Why does the triple glazing (three separate panes of glass) in most European windows and doors (W&D) have much better insulating values than the triple glazing in most American windows?  After all, besides having the same three panes [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 7)

The Passive House criterion for energy used to heat and cool the house is so stringent that it cannot be met by homes that use anything but the best performing Windows & Doors (W&D). At this point in time, I am aware of only one small American company that makes W&D that meet the requirement [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 6)

The Thermal Envelope Floor, wall, and roof areas that adjoin unheated spaces make up the thermal envelope (TE) of a house. Building the house with an air-tight TE is one of the most difficult PH requirements to achieve. Maintaining air barrier continuity at transition points in the TE is critical. I began by wrapping the [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 5)

I chose to frame the roof with an engineered wood truss, which forms both an attic and vaulted ceiling. I chose a truss, rather than a traditional 2x roof rafter, to more easily achieve my efficiency goals. Over the vaulted ceiling area, I wanted the truss to accommodate 18” of cellulose insulation – about R-65. [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 4)

Cellulose insulation has been blown into the walls behind netting. The exterior walls of my house feature three layers of insulation.  The first layer of insulation is installed between the 2x6 studs. The cavities are filled with cellulose, an insulation product made from recycled newsprint and cardboard (and a favorite of many green builders). The [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 3)

Looking Back at Demolition Demolition of the old cottage The project began with the demolition of the existing cottage.  As a builder, I should be immune to feeling badly about taking down an old house, but I find it painful to see sound building materials smashed up and hauled away.  However, the reality [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 2)

The Cottage Everything but the foundation shown here will be torn down and rebuilt The cottage I bought for this project had a concrete block foundation that sits partially on ledge as the site rises to the rear. A room behind the house was built on concrete block piers. Given my performance goals [...]

A Personal Journey: Building My Own Passive House (part 1)

Introduction to This Series Passive House Institute US offers a certification program developed in Europe to assist home building professionals seeking to build highly energy efficient homes (www.phaus.org for more information). This is the first entry in a series about the design and construction of my own Passive House. This is a rigorous process, and [...]