Go behind the scenes of the first Passive House in Texas

Looking for a home that uses 90 percent less energy than a standard home? Well, here's one. And, and it's deep in the heart of Texas.

The first home in Texas certified to the International Passive House standard has been completed and is on the market in Dallas, with an asking price of $1.145 million.

The 3,230-square-foot home was finished in March, and electricity use averaged $1 per day, even with the air conditioning set at 71 degrees and the heat set at 69 degrees, and the home abuzz with final detail work.

The home was built by Kyle Fagin and his son Connor, owners of Fagin Partners, to meet Passive House standards that call for a home to use about 90 percent less energy than a traditional home and have high air quality as well. The Fagins tapped Ryall Sheridan Architects in New York City, a Passive House certified architectural firm, for the home design.

Click on the photos below for more information.

Instead of a single HVAC system to handle heating, cooling, ventilation and dehumidification, the home uses an energy recovery ventilator to manage fresh air and humidity, Kyle Fagin told Candy's Dirt.

The Zehnder ERV continuously exchanges stale air inside the home for fresh outside air, and manages the humidity levels as well. The ERV uses a MERV 13 filter to remove contaminants from the air, helping reduce asthma and allergy triggers.

To keep energy inside where it belongs, the home used a double-stud wall construction, with two parallel 2-inch-by-6-inch walls creating a cavity. The space was filled with 5.5 inches of dense-packed, blown cellulose, resulting in a single wall 14 inches thick. All utility ducts were run in the insulated space as well to capture any heat or cooling loss.

On the outside, there are 4-and-a-half inches of foam insulation under the stucco sections and 4 inches under the siding portions.

The 18-inch-thick roof was insulated with 12 inches of cellulose, and the foundation was insulated as well. The design delivered walls with an insulation value of R-34 and a roof with an insulation value of R-48.

The windows are triple pane units and the sliding glass door is argon filled to provide a beautiful view without losing energy.

One factor in Passive House certification is the blower door test, which gauges the home's airtightness. The test depressurizes the house using a pressure similar to 25 mph winds, which reveals any air leaks that are then sealed.

Air tightness is measured by air changes per hour, and current Dallas building codes call for three air changes per hour. The Passive House standard is .6, and the Fagins' home passed easily.

Overall, the additional cost for the Passive House designation was about 10 percent more than the cost of building a similar, non-passive house, Kyle Fagin said.

Read more about Passive House certification.



Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Connected Homes / Smart Homes, Energy Recovery & Heat Recovery, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Passive House, Thermal Envelope, Wastewater Treatment

Companies: Zehnder America


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