Super low energy needs simplify system requirements
The energy demands of a passive home are so much lower, it changes the game when it comes to heating and cooling your home. The systems required are smaller, simpler, and cheaper to run.
Stepping away from fossil fuels is huge, and it’s possible to do this now. The systems used by an EkoBuilt passive home are entirely driven by electricity, and a small amount at that.
1. Replace the furnace with a heat pump
We replace a conventional furnace with an air source heat pump by Mitsubishi which handles all of the heating and cooling needs of the home. (A ground source heat pump is simply overkill for a passive home — geothermal systems were built with larger, much less energy efficient buildings in mind.)
The Mitsubishi system can be installed through wall mounted units (typically one per floor, although it’s an option to add more), which is the route we take. It’s also possible for a forced air / ducted system installation (most relevant for home owners retrofitting an older home).
2. Add a fresh air machine
Any passive home or other highly energy efficient home relies on air tightness. If a building has an airtight envelope, it’s not leaking energy.
This means we introduce what we like to call a fresh air machine, better known as an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). Some folks will be familiar with Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV), but we prefer the ERV as it also manages moisture, making it the perfect machine for any climate.
ERVs have become part of the building code in most of North America since 2017. You may not have known it, but any new home or building is required to have an ERV as building code standards have raised the air tightness factor.
3. Don’t forget about hot water
We make use of heat pump technology for hot water as well, relying on an indoor heat pump mounted on a water heater. The brand we use, Rheem, is actually widely available through Home Depot!
Together, these systems make your EkoBuilt passive home supremely healthy, comfortable, and sustainable.
An EkoBuilt home is so smartly designed, it can easily be made Net Positive. Our model home is so energy efficient, its small solar installation produces more energy than the home needs to run.
Watch our blog for more in-depth pieces on the elements described here: