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Builders and architects for passive houses

We are trying to build a passive house in South Indiana and will attempt to source high insulation precast concrete walls, tilt and turn windows, and recycled plastic roof shingles or other green roofing materials.

Our current design (drawn up by us laypeople with some freeware and pen and paper) is a 1 1/2 story house with attached garage and a half hip (??) roof (Krueppelwalmdach in German) with dormers and sky lights and additionally solar panels. We will reuse the slab and part of our cellar but extend it a bit. We begun working with an architect who is more accustomed to wood-frame building and American house designs, it seems.

My question to you folks is: Do we need to find experienced architects and builders for a passive building project? We are full-time working and have neither the time nor the knowledge to supervise the project adequately. We would prefer to work with local businesses. However, this kind of house would be a first - to our best knowledge - in our region. and it seems that by using precast concrete walls there is no room for error and correction.

Thanks -

Asked by M Pink
Posted Wed, 01/08/2014 - 14:51


1 Answer

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M. Pink,
If you are building the first Passivhaus in your area, it's going to be difficult to find local builders and architects who have Passivhaus experience.

As you probably know, several Passivhaus buildings have been constructed around Urbana, Illinois, the home of the Passive House Institute U.S.

Whether or not you can find a builder and an architect who are familiar with Passivhaus, you will need a Passive House consultant if you want your Passivhaus to be certified.

If you are interviewing builders and architects, I would ask them whether they are familiar with airtight building methods; whether their projects have been tested with a blower door; and if they have, what their blower door results were.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:54

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