A snapshot at green in construction: ‘passivhaus.’ Energy efficiency comes home to Spokane, Washington in the form of this innovative design standard that leverages automation.

New technologies are at the heart of development for a new 1,300-square foot home in Spokane Washington that is designed to retain and recycle its own internal energy. The idea is that through this process the home will be able to reduce its utility costs and provide better indoor air quality.

Designed by Architect Sam Rodell AIA the home is billed as a residential ‘passivhaus’ a concept that has gained notoriety in Germany and Austria. This helps to virtually eliminate the need for traditional heating and cooling equipment.

The ‘passivhaus’ or ‘passive house’ standard, http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/, is a fast growing energy performance standard with more than 30,000 buildings taking form under this model. Designed with a pure simplicity in its approach, the standard brings forth the idea of building a house with excellent thermal performance and exceptional rate of being air tight with mechanical ventilation.

This approach to building design allows the designer to minimize the ‘heating demand’ of the building. According to some, one prime example comes in the form of residential buildings only specifying a heated towel rail as means of conventional heating. The heat can then be recovered and circulated by a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery unit.

The idea of ‘passivhaus’ carries with it not only an idea of energy efficiency, but also health benefits due to the higher quality level of indoor air quality. The home will be reviewed by the Passive House Institute U.S., which is an independent organization that focuses on rigorous air quality control, during design and construction.

Backed by an independent, third party quality control that includes both technical design review and actual construction inspections, the Passive House Institute provides a high level of quality control to the project.