After relocating from Canada to the scenic coastal town of Inverloch with his wife & family, Wade Bashaw has transitioned from skiing in Canada to Stand Up Paddle Boarding with exact same smile of pure enjoyment and is constantly inspired by the local environment and relaxed lifestyle. He started North South Homes with his wife (super talented local photography Sue Carmody) in 2015 after noticing the need for builders to get on board building environmentally sustainable homes. They have since developed a strong philosophy around building homes that support current & future goals of reducing global energy usage.
Wade is a Registered Building Practitioner and a Certified Passiv Haus Tradesperson with a passion for outdoor lifestyle and making sure the homes he builds are well designed, well insulated , and above all, comfortable. He's been in the building industry here and in Canada for over 20 years and brings a wealth of knowledge from his Canadian building background, to Inverloch.
Wade, we've heard of energy efficient homes, but what's a Passive House?
Sure. A passive House relies on building physics and carefully integrated, minimal building services and technology, which in turn ensure a design that delivers very high performance and comfort for the lifetime of the building. There are five design principles that we focus on;
Insulation is calculated to the home’s geographical location and included within the building’s envelope, providing enough thermal separation between the heated or cooled conditioned inside environment and the outdoors. This improves thermal comfort and reduces the risk of condensation (no more cold internal surfaces in winter!).This also greatly reduces the risk of mould.
PASSIVE HOUSE ( HIGH PERFORMANCE) WINDOWS
Low-emissivity triple glaze windows with thermally broken or non-metal frames are required in a passive house to ensure superior levels of insulation The size of the windows are accurately calculated to each orientation, to allow solar radiation to penetrate during the winter months (free heating!). Exterior shading, whether fixed or movable, is of critical importance in blocking solar heat gains during the summer period.
VENTILATION HEAT RECOVERY
Passive House buildings incorporate a superior ventilation system that ensures ample fresh air at room temperature and makes for high indoor air quality. This mechanical ventilation unit effectively recovers warm air and cool air that would otherwise be wasted whilst also filtering the air that’s coming into the building. This leads to fewer pollutants in the air and a lower risk of condensation meaning a healthier indoors. Yes, you can also OPEN your windows!
An essential part of every Passive House is an airtight building envelope (see the requirement in the certification criteria). This ensures that there are next to no gaps or cracks within your envelope, giving you full control over your internal environment and significantly improving thermal comfort – no more drafts!
THERMAL BRIDGE REDUCED DESIGN
The insulation not only needs to be sufficient in thickness but also needs to be continuous. This means keeping penetrations through the insulation to an absolute minimum, and if not avoidable then using materials that are less conductive to heat (i.e. timber in place of metal) and/or incorporating thermal breaks (whereby a material that doesn’t conduct heat well separates the two conductive elements). Otherwise your wonderfully insulated building will have a number of thermal highways that will cause increased energy consumption and increased condensation risk whilst impacting thermal comfort.
Can a building stay warm without a conventional heating or cooling system?
Passive House certified buildings have proven that it is possible to build structures requiring so little energy, that conventional heating and cooling systems are rendered unnecessary. During cold periods, the small amount of heat that can be added to incoming fresh air through a ventilation system is sufficient to keep a Passive House at a comfortable temperature. During warmer periods, strategic shading and aeration is typically enough to keep a Passive House comfortably cool, although in warm, humid climates, some type of small scale air conditioning may be required. Measurements in Passive House subdivisions have proven that Passive Houses keep energy requirements consistently and predictably low: the expected consumption agrees well with average actual consumption, even given a great variety of occupant habits and lifestyles.
Are there different Passive House Standards for different climates?
Whether in Siberia or Southern Spain, one of the beauties of the Passive House Standard is its consistency (see the Passive House Criteria). These criteria are functional and based on the ability to heat the house soley through the supply air. They are not climate dependent. Instead, the design of each Passive House building must be adapted to the particular climate in which it will be built, meaning that these criteria may sometimes be more or less difficult to fulfil. A Passive House in Siberia, for example, would likely require better thermal protection than a Passive House in Southern Spain.
Are Passive Houses expensive?
Passive Houses not only save money long term but are surprisingly affordable to begin with. The investment in higher quality building components required by the Passive House standard is mitigated by the elimination of expensive heating and cooling systems.
Can you open the windows in a Passive House?
Passive House occupants may open windows whenever they want. The beauty of Passive House design, however, is that they won’t have to. A Passive House is continuously supplied with fresh air via the ventilation system, which does a far better job of consistently bringing fresh air in than simply opening the windows. Fine filters in the ventilation system keep dirt and pollen out ensuring excellent indoor air quality, even when occupants are away and/or windows are never opened. If windows are left open for longer periods with extreme outdoor temperatures, the inside air temperature will be affected and energy consumption for heating and cooling will increase.
Are there problems with bacteria, noise and drafts with the ventilation systems?
The ventilation system in a Passive House is a fresh air supply system, not an air conditioning system that recirculates inside air. Bacterial growth is only a problem in poorly maintained recirculating air systems. The fan and valve noises resulting from the ventilation system are almost completely eliminated by sound control measures such as vibration isolation mounts, low air speed and acoustic lining in ducts. Jet nozzles guide incoming air along the ceiling, where it uniformly diffuses throughout the room at velocities that are barely perceptible.
How does passive house construction prevent moisture damage?
Air tight construction and thick insulation in a passive house maintain even indoor temperatures at around 20°C (dependent on user preference) throughout, thus preventing condensation and mould growth. Airtight construction also prevents leaks through which moist air can enter the building envelope.