Passive House Utility Room Layouts

As a follow up to our recent post on utility rooms in a passive home, we're sharing five possible utility rooms layouts.

As a follow up to our recent post on utility rooms in a passive home, we’re sharing five possible utility rooms layouts.

Designing a Passive House Utility Room

As we shared in our recent post Creating a Small Utility Room, the EkoBuilt model home has a small double-doored closet devoted to its mechanical systems. The utility or mechanical room in our 1,634 sq ft model passive home includes:

  • 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”) is situated in a concealed cabinet above a doorway that sits opposite the utility room, but it could be integrated within the footprint of the mechanical room.

In this post, we’ll show you a variety of possible layouts for your home’s utility room, depending on the passive design you choose, where in the home you choose to situate it, and what other functions you may want to combine with the utility room.

We include options which variously integrate laundry space, mud room capacity, and / or a powder room.

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.

Passive House Utility Room Key

For details of what is included in the utility room of an EkoBuilt passive home, please refer to our original post Creating a Small Utility Room.

The following abbreviations and terminology are used in the five layouts that we’re sharing (each taken from client plans):

WCWater conditioning system
HWTHot water tank
ERVEnergy recovery ventilator
FSFiltration system
EPElectrical panel
A stock photo of a laundry basket
Stock photo by Annie Pratt, Unsplash

Closet Utility

This is the smallest available footprint and it can work in any of our designs. In our model home, the utility room closet is situated in the home’s front entrance area.

This closet format can also be built into a laundry room or other room. The sliding doors hide the mechanicals while giving easy access.

In this configuration, we place the hot water tank on the left and configure the water conditioning and filtration systems on a lower section of the wall, with the ERV above.

The electrical panel (EP) is placed in a wall somewhere else near or in the utility room space. Can be in a hallway or any room as long as there is three feet of open space in front of it. We usually recommend placing the panel in a 2 x 6 wall, so we give the electrician breathing room to properly arrange the wiring.

A small diagram for the layout of a closet utility room.

In this arrangement, all components but the electrical panel (EP) are included. In our model home, we opted to place the ERV above the entrance space coat closet opposite the utility closet, which left room for the EP to be included. We will make decisions together best suited to your home.

Utility / Laundry Room

Where space is at a premium, we’ve found this combination powder room with utility / laundry room to be a winner.

Often located near the home’s main or rear entrance, a smartly designed powder room includes an interior door through to the combined mechanical and laundry room.

The interior room positions laundry machines and any fold down rack space or folding space on one side of the room, and the mechanical components to run the passive home are on the opposite side.

This layout prioritizes more frequent access to the powder room, a very practical choice, while keeping the laundry and utility room components out of sight.

Floorplan for a combined laundry and utility room accessed through a powder room.

Understairs Utility Room

For a home with a second storey, situating the utility room in the opening created in an L-shape stair layout is a great approach.

In this case, the utility room is very similar to the Utility Closet option above, with double doors to conceal everything.

In this example, a small two-piece powder room and a modestly sized pantry are also included, with the powder room fit under the run of stairs and the pantry accessed through its own dedicated door.

Located on the ground floor of the house design shown here, this could easily be used in a basement location, with the pantry space becoming additional storage space for other household items.

This layout highlights the smart, space saving and maximizing approaches we regularly take in our passive house designs.

Don’t forget to review our 55+ passive home designs while you’re here. Any of our plans can be modified to best suit your lifestyle and where you plan to build. We can also create a design unique to your needs.

A floorplan detail of a staircase, under which is tucked the passive home's utility room and a powder room.

Standalone Utility Room

For a larger passive house, a stand alone utility room will simply provide more space for your home’s mechanical systems.

If you’d prefer to have more working space around these various elements, and space isn’t at a premium, then this is very much an option.

In this configuration, the water conditioning systems sits under the ERV, which is positioned high up the main electrical wall of the room.

This particular layout is from a basement in a passive home. Many of us are simply accustomed to mechanical rooms in the basement. This could easily be expanded to include laundry and powder room elements as well.

A floorplan detail of a staircase, under which is tucked the passive home's utility room and a powder room.

Mud Room with Utility / Laundry

For many of us, access to a mudroom through the home’s garage or other exterior entrance is key. A mudroom is a space that can easily be reimagined to include laundry facilities or a powder room, and it’s also a great option for the mechanicals.

In this sample layout, the home has an integrated mud room with both utility room equipment and laundry facilities. One door enters from the home’s garage and the other goes directly outside.

In this type of layout, as in many of the examples shared here, access to the utility room is adjacent to or integrated with the front entrance of the home. We find this can be particularly convenient.

We hope these examples help as you consider placement of the utility room and related functions in your new passive home.

Ready to design your passive home? Ready to go net zero? Take a look at our 55+ passive home designs or talk to us about a design of your own. We look forward to hearing from you!

A passive house plan with an integrated mudroom that includes utility room equipment and laundry.

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