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Engineering a passive home

Passive house
The house is so well insulated and air sealed that sun through the windows and warmth from appliances and human bodies can keep it comfortable for nearly the whole year without supplemental heating. Some features of our passive house:
CATCHING THE SUN
The sun is one of the primary sources of heat for a passive house. The orientation of the home on the lot and the size and position of windows are carefully planned.
In winter, barren trees allow the sun's rays in; in summer, leaves block the rays.
AIRTIGHT CONSTRUCTION
A 10-mm vapor barrier under the foundation seals to an airtight sheathing on exterior walls and roof. No drafts or moisture penetrate.
HEAVY INSULATION
Compared with a new code-minimum home, the wall insulation in the passive home is thicker.
Ceilings: Two feet of cellulose insulation keeps the house cool during the summer and prevents heat from escaping in winter.
Walls: Insulation packed between framed walls sits behind the exterior sheathing.
Floors/foundation: Thick foam insulation keeps winter heat from escaping through the concrete foundation; heat stored in the concrete radiates back into the house.
HIGH-EFFICIENCY WINDOWS, DOORS
Tilt-and-turn windows — with triple-pane glass, low-E glazing, and argon gas between the panes — were used. Doors and windows don't just close, they seal.
HEAT RECOVERY, VENTILATION
The system continually exchanges moist "stale" inside air for fresh filtered outside air to maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature and humidity level.
Inside spaces are heated and cooled primarily with fresh exterior air. The system takes fresh cold air entering the house and heats it with warm inside air.
HEATING WATER
The system continually exchanges moist "stale" inside air for fresh filtered outside air to maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature and humidity level.
Inside spaces are heated and cooled primarily with fresh exterior air. The system takes fresh cold air entering the house and heats it with warm inside air.
AIR CONDITIONING
The system continually exchanges moist "stale" inside air for fresh filtered outside air to maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature and umidity level.
Inside spaces are heated and cooled primarily with fresh exterior air. The system takes fresh cold air entering the house and heats it with warm inside air.
SOURCE: Placetailor
James Abundis/Globe Staff

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