Creating a Small Utility Room

Our passive homes have incredibly small utility rooms (also known as mechanical rooms). Find out more!

Our passive homes have incredibly small utility rooms (also known as mechanical rooms). Find out more!

Passive House Utility Rooms

Our model passive house is based on a 1,634 sq ft layout that includes 1,427 sq ft of actual usable floor space (the remainder accounts for walk thicknesses). Of this, a mere 25 sq ft is allocated for the home’s utility room.

The utility or mechanical room in this home includes these core elements:

  • Rheem hot water heater
  • Constant pressure system (as the home has a well)
  • Water filtration system (NLP Aqua Solutions)
  • Electrical panel

The home’s ERV (energy recovery ventilator or “fresh air machine” as we like to call it) is housed in a recess over a doorway that sits opposite the main utility room, but it could easily be integrated within the footprint of the main utility room.

There are many different configurations possible, and in a follow up post we’ll share a series of possible utility room layouts.

The featured picture at the top of this post shows the sliding door panels that conceal this functional space.

Floor plan for 1,634 sq ft passive bungalow by EkoBuilt. The utility room is just 25 sq ft.
The blue round icon for the hot water tank is situated within the 25 sq ft utility room space at the home’s front entrance.

Designing Your Utility Room

Everything we do concentrates on simplicity and cost savings. With utility rooms, we always have an eye on what’s the smartest implementation for the homeowner.

Sometimes this will involve laundry machines, as pairing laundry functions with the home’s main systems can make a lot of sense. In our model home, we opted to include a separate room dedicated to laundry, in part to show how this can be done. See the floorplan above for more on placement.

  • Our most typical configuration, where a mini split Air Source Heat Pump system is used in the home, results in that tiny 25 sq ft space.
  • In a home that uses a forced air heat pump system, we’d find the utility space bumped up to 60 sq ft.
  • Add in stackable laundry units and add another 10 sq ft for a total of 70 sq ft.

Our model home makes use of the most space efficient units, including a wall-mounted constant pressure system. Traditional floor mounted units take up more space, but it’s easy to reposition elements to keep the overall footprint streamlined.

The L-shape configuration for our model home’s utility room exists to accommodate a larger shower stall in the master bedroom’s ensuite. The shallow front end of the utility room houses the electrical panel and connections, while the deeper end of the space creates an open area for the remaining components.

Laundry Rooms Revisited

There is no one right place for laundry. These elements are found paired with utility rooms, adjacent to or a part of mudrooms and entry spaces, in kitchens and in bathrooms. In our first model home, we created a laundry / utility space with the laundry in the front and the utility room elements accessed beyond an archway.

We’ll devote a future blog post to laundry room options, but share here the small stand alone laundry room that we included in our net zero model home.

This space is bright, fresh and clean and easily kept that way thanks to focusing on the basics: a deep sink with a short counter, under sink storage and drawers, and stackable washer and drawer.

Foldaway elements like hanging racks and folding space are easily incorporated.

Ready to design your smart passive home? Take a look at our 50+ passive home designs or talk to us about a design of your own. We look forward to hearing from you!

A photo of a small laundry room with stackable machines and a sink.
The small dedicated laundry room in our model net zero home.

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