The Passive House – unnecessary luxury or pressing necessity

Lately, the term Passive House is becoming more and more common in our everyday life. People are talking about it on TV, read in a number of electronic publications, hear from colleagues, or find comments on forums and websites.

It is natural to look for the answer to what this concept means and what lies behind it. Many of us perceive the idea as a primary one, and at the moment they realize that there is an additional investment involved, they immediately ignore it and declare it unprofitable, unworkable and unattractive. But have they actually grasped what the concept of the Passive House is about and understood why this idea spreads step-by-step around whole Europe, and the rest of the world is beginning to watch with growing curiosity about what’s going on.

The concept of Passive House has three very important foundations, encompassing personal and public interests, namely comfort, economic profitability and environmental friendliness, and this lies in its uniqueness. It is these foundations that make the concepts unwavering.

The steady increase in energy prices (an average of 7% per year over the past 30 years) and the depreciation of components used in passive construction make the concept even more attractive and profitable for the investors. The additional investment involved when building the first passive houses at the beginning of the nineties was 18-20%, compared to no more than 5 to 10% in 2015. Furthermore, there is a tendency for equalization of prices between traditional and passive construction within the next 10 years due to the growing demand for passive house components.

However, when looking at the ROI (return on investment) one should consider not only the cost of construction rather than the “Whole Life Cycle Cost” of the building. This includes all costs, ranging from design, through maintenance, to demolition and landfill. The cost-effectiveness of investment in passive houses is readily proven by calculating the economic benefits of investing in the required passive house components which leads to significant energy savings, and there are a number of economic analyzes to make it possible.

The positive environmental aspects, which also bring economic benefits, should not be overlooked. The comfort and air quality in the Passive House reduce the risk of respiratory illness and fatigue and provide us with excellent relaxation conditions from daily stress – side factors that, if we neglect the psychological and physical aspects, purely economically, would result in savings on examinations, medicines, and sanatoriums.

Globally, the reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions is supported economically by the state, and this is reflected in lower taxes, provision of co-funding under different European programs, and so on.

I am not touching on the positive environmental aspects, things we often comment on, but many of us see it as an unnecessary luxury.

I firmly believe that now is the time to open our eyes and make the right move – to build our own Passive House.

Author: Svetlin Dobrevski