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Architecture: Passive House as a Profitable Business

By Oscar Hernandez Acosta @ OBHA Studio LLC

Passive House (German: Passivhaus) is an amazing concept of energy efficiency in the building, minimizing its environmental footprint. It outcomes very minimum energy consumption that require tiny energy for space cooling and heating properly. In bottom line, the building must be efficient, smart, and ecological balance with his users and surrounding.

First Passive House

The first concept known was built on 1991 in Kranichstein, Darmstadt. This multi-family complex was planned and constructed using all the steps mentioned above. Straight southern exposure makes the most of desired heat gains in main living areas.

Incoming air intake for each complex was situated on the northern side of the house with the air ducted below surface for pre-heating prior penetrating to the heat exchanger. Facility involved a non-mechanical air system north-side glass area that achieved as a thermal barrier. After it was done, very extensive checking started with positive results approving the value of the concept of its goals and dreams.

Passive Housing Planning Package

  1. In 1998, the Passive Housing Planning Package (PHPP) was created to guide certified practitioners in designing to Passive house standards and procedure.

  2. In 2007 version of the PHPP was enhance software accessible for both commercial and residential projects, for small renovation and new construction. Confirmed multiple projects, ventilation rate values, internal heat gains, energy balance, total energy demands and serve, and electricity / water demands from fans and other electrical devices

Very well-done insulated facility skins, minimized thermal bridging, air tightness and energy recovery ventilators are necessary for minimizing the consumption of energy in hot and humid climates.

The international Passive House (Passivhaus) Standard requires:

  • Space heat demand max. 15 kWh/m2a OR heating load max. 10 W/m2

  • Pressurization test result at 50 Pa max. 0.6 ACH (both over-pressure and under-pressure)

  • Total Primary Energy Demand max. 120 kWh/m2a

*All heating and cooling calculations are based on the net usable floor area of the building. If cooling (air conditioning) is required, the annual cooling energy demand must also not exceed 15 kWh/m2.

Now, how can you make the passive house profitable business in 21st century? What tools architects and urban designer need to accomplish the perfect passive house? You can sell to your clients that the passive house design saving costs with energy efficiency will be in the long-term. Saving or minimize energy is what primarily contributes to dismissing the high costs in the long run. Therefore, it is smart way to use property incentives only for shown energy-efficient procedures. For example, for improving the thermal insulation, natural ventilation, and triple-glazed windows. These actions do save energy, has been demonstrate through analysis.

Architects as entrepreneur can take advantages with passive house practices all around USA and World. It is very effective method to generate profitable business. You as designers, can implement the following steps:

1.Be educated about Passive House Standards and Procedures. It is the first and most important step toward to compete in the market. You must to know and understand very well what and how to implement.

2.Search and understand potential neighborhoods that can support those type of investments. First, it is very hard to achieve the passive house under those guidelines. Second, there are not many desirable areas to build and manage those type building. So, you should seek out sites that are suitable with appropriate users that may occupy and use the space accordingly with passive house standards. For example, you may buy or build a passive complex in Houston, Texas where there are possible existing buildings under specific criteria of construction. Furthermore, the may user very familiar with this type of property.

3.It is possible for you and your investor to flip-flop passive properties. However, I recommend holding on those complex or houses and make them to cash flow, looking for no minimum than 10%. If you buy or build houses, you must to cash flow them every month, this how rich get richer. It is better to get multi-family houses than several single houses. A big complex, you have the advantages to get one roof, one foundation, one address…single properties most of the cases spread all around the town or different city. In additional to that, you must to educated the users to be more effective at the time of use the house.

4.I recommend after 10 years, you get your money back, then you can sell the property for 25% higher that original price. Now, you make additional extra cash with sell. This require to be educated very well in real estate and taxes to avoid loses. Also, you should search all the incentives that State and Local government provide to investors.

You may also, check these links posted below for more information about passive house:

Grant Cardone

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