Rethinking the Way We Live: A Case for Passive House Retrofitting
In order to reduce our energy consumption in buildings, it is best to begin with the individual and therefore, housing. The residential sector contributes 54% of all energy consumption related to buildings, and it is also a personal environment for each of us to live and grow. Because of the deep connection we have with our homes, it is important that these houses are not only energy efficient and affordable, but also comfortable and enjoyable places for us to live in. Weatherizing and updating appliances and mechanical equipment in existing houses isn’t enough to significantly reduce energy consumption and lower operating costs. The passive house standard, which was developed in Germany, is currently the most rigorous energy standard created and aims to achieve not only a reduction of a building’s ecological footprint, but also to create houses that are more comfortable and enjoyable places to live. In this study, I will discuss how the passive house standard is applied to existing homes and the importance of implementing this way of thinking into our daily lives. My research includes a building performance analysis of an existing conventional home in Ames and a design proposal of how one might retrofit an existing building to the passive house standard.