Almost Done!

I have been keeping mum these past few months about our big family project, but I cannot hold it off any longer.  I am super excited.  Our very own “passive house” is about to be realized!

Aesthetically, it may not look like anything from this perspective, but the main reason why we chose this type of design is its promise of slashing the heating energy consumption by an amazing 90%.   It’s all about functionality!  Not only is it environmentally-friendly, it will also be very pocket-friendly in the long run.

So what is a  “Passive House”?
The passive house design was introduced by a German physicist Wolfgang Feist and Swedish professor Bo Adamson. It In 1996, the Passive House Institute in Germany was founded by Feist.  Here in the Czech Republic, it is starting to gain popularity.  According to Mother Earth News, there are only 15,000 buildings worldwide that are certified to have met passive house standards.  In the US, this type of technology is just beginning to catch on with about a dozen buildings certified as “passive.”
The passive house design goes by the following basic concepts:  Reducing Air Infiltration, Superinsulation, Eliminating Thermal Bridging, High performance (and properly placed) windows and doors, Super-efficient balanced ventilation systems, and Energy efficient design (compact) with healthy building materials and furnishings.
I wouldn’t go into details any further, but if you would like to know more about passive houses, this video presentation may help.  Click here.
I will have to say that all credit relating to this project goes to my dear husband, one of the best engineers in the world.  Long before this concept had been brought into fruition, he had it in his mind all along.  When we decided to settle and build a home, he tirelessly did all the research on the best design that will fit our needs.  The passive house was a clear choice from the very beginning, given all the benefits that this concept has to offer.  We already knew what type of house we wanted to build without even knowing where or how it was going to be built.  All the engineers in the family believe it is a great concept, so here it is.
Our house is situated in a new residential development area within Kolin surrounded by woods and a small body of water.  We chose this location due to its proximity to nature and the neighborhood surrounding it.
This is the “zoomed in” view of our community.
But this is how it really looks like from the highway.
And this is what our “beach” looks like.
Who knows, it may even double as a skating rink during the winter.  That, I have to find out soon.
Right now, we are very busy doing the final stages of the construction.  Well, at least my husband is.  I know it’s going to be a long project, but our goal is to move in before winter settles in.  I am very curious to know if this passive house design will really live up to its concept and save us some money on our heating bills.
Although there is a lot of pressure ahead, I’m excited…..and I’m happy!
One of the most interesting things about a “passive house” is that it recycles all internal heat gains, including body heat from  humans, the appliances, the computer, and the light bulbs!   Needless to say, that during winter time, visitors can actually lower our energy bills.
So, will you come and visit?
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42 thoughts on “Almost Done!

  1. jean October 18, 2012 / 11:38 am

    wow, almost done! congratulations to you and your dearest for all the hardwork and determination to get your house done on time.

    Like

    • Grace October 18, 2012 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Jean! A lot of sacrifices, but I’m sure it will all pay off in the end. 🙂

      Like

  2. jgmycroft October 18, 2012 / 11:40 am

    Very cool! I’d love to see the house finished and your experience after it’s been built. I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve heard of a “passive” house.

    Like

    • Grace October 18, 2012 / 6:31 pm

      Now the challenge in decorating the interior rests on me. 🙂

      Like

  3. melba October 18, 2012 / 12:06 pm

    Congrats Grace and Jiri! Excited din ako, sana naka-move na kayo kapag natuloy ang visit namin. 🙂

    Like

    • Grace October 18, 2012 / 6:30 pm

      Yup, we will be waiting for you. 🙂 See you soon!

      Like

  4. 68ghia October 18, 2012 / 12:20 pm

    Oh, I’m there!! An invitation to far off places, bargain 😉
    As for the house design, I’m sure it will do the trick. I’m just thankful to live in a place where the weather is quite temperate, so I don’t really have to heat things in winter and in summer the house is usually cool enough with a few opened windows.

    Like

    • Grace October 18, 2012 / 6:30 pm

      Thanks, JC! You’re welcome here anytime. I’ve heard a lot of good things about SA. It’s on my bucket list of places to visit. Hopefully, I will get to see your country someday. 🙂

      Like

  5. dba12 October 18, 2012 / 1:47 pm

    Many congrats to you…

    Like

  6. Frimm Sally Cagas-Bana October 18, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    wow, grace! you live in the czech republic now? maybe i can go visit your passive home i the future! cheers! 🙂

    Like

    • Grace October 18, 2012 / 6:27 pm

      You should. I’ll wait for you. 🙂

      Like

  7. Esenga' s Voice October 18, 2012 / 3:20 pm

    Congratulations, Grace! A very interesting and great concept.

    Like

  8. adinparadise October 18, 2012 / 5:23 pm

    Wow, this is such a great project. Well done to you both. 🙂

    Like

  9. Paprika Furstenburg October 18, 2012 / 7:20 pm

    This was fascinating to read about. I had no idea what a passive house was. Can’t wait to read more about it after you move in. The home and neighborhood look lovely. Congrats!

    Like

    • Grace October 19, 2012 / 8:14 am

      Thanks, Paprika! 🙂

      Like

  10. Gunta October 18, 2012 / 9:21 pm

    I am thoroughly envious. I’ve wanted a house like this since I read about it years ago in Mother Earth. My house has radiant heat in the tiled floors and I have solar panels, but that’s about as close as I could get to lowering my energy footprint. I’ve never found a good engineer like your husband here. Oh, and I suppose you already knew about the solar lights. 😉

    I will be very interested to hear how things are going once you’ve moved in. Congratulations to your husband.

    Like

    • Grace October 19, 2012 / 8:20 am

      Hi Gunta! Everything you’re doing now are already good enough for Mother Earth. 🙂 Yes, I will be sharing our “passive house” experience in this blog to hopefully encourage more people to build these houses and do something good for mother earth.

      Solar energy had a boost here in CZ a couple of years ago, and you can practically see solar panels almost everywhere. The government was giving incentives to those who would go for this technology. Unfortunately, I think the incentives stopped when too many people went for it and they ran out of money. 🙂

      Like

  11. joleneybean October 19, 2012 / 3:16 am

    Nice! I don’t know much about passive housing – but what a great idea. What kind of heating do you end up using for this kind of houses? I am all about conserving energy (and money), but we have hot water heat (old fashioned radiators) and have to replace our boiler. That’s happening next week actually. Hopefully it too will save on some money with the higher efficiency that’s promised. We’ll see!
    I can’t wait to see what you do to the inside!

    Like

    • Grace October 19, 2012 / 8:32 am

      Thanks, Jolene! We are using a heat pump for heating. (same concept as HVAC systems in buildings) But on good days (lots of sun), the sun’s energy + the internal heat from our bodies + the heat emitted by the appliances may be enough to heat up the whole house. 🙂

      Like

  12. Lisaman October 19, 2012 / 8:30 am

    Wish I’d known about this when I started renovations…I will look it up, it sounds so interesting!!

    Like

    • Grace October 19, 2012 / 8:37 am

      Hi Lisa! There is always a next time. 🙂

      By the way, I can’t seem to leave a comment on your blog. Are you still with wordpress?

      Like

  13. sakthi5028 October 19, 2012 / 9:12 am

    Good information about the country….that too recycling of everything!!!

    Like

  14. Mylene October 19, 2012 / 6:07 pm

    This was a very interesting read. I’ve never heard of a passive house before. Hope to hear more about it. Congrats by the way on the house!

    Functionality is very important. One thing I wouldn’t do again is having high ceilings (20 ft). What a waste of energy.

    I also dislike grass lawns as I find them too high maintenance. A huge amount of water resources in the US are used for lawns. But people like it cause it looks pretty. And unfortunately a lot of homeowners associations require it (I understand why).

    Like

    • Grace October 19, 2012 / 8:56 pm

      Thanks, Mai! I agree. There are still a lot of things that can be improved in the US, energy-wise. But on the otherhand, I think you have a great house. 🙂

      Like

  15. The Asian October 21, 2012 / 5:42 pm

    That sounds like a really good idea. I hope it works out just as well as you expect!

    Like

  16. craftcrazygran October 22, 2012 / 9:28 am

    A fascinating and important post. We all need to know more about “Green” matters. Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  17. patinaandcompany October 24, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    OH my goodness! This is so exciting I don’t know how you kept that secret! I want to come back and click the link to learn more, but thank you for sharing this exciting event!

    Like

    • Grace October 25, 2012 / 7:13 pm

      Thanks! It’s still a long way ahead with the interiors,but we do hope to make it before winter. We cannot wait to test the functionality of this house this year. The landscaping will have to wait till spring of next year. Meanwhile, I am gathering all the inputs that I can from blogs like yours. 🙂

      Like

  18. TBM October 26, 2012 / 1:13 pm

    Congrats on almost being done. That’s very exciting!

    Like

  19. SkiDaddy October 31, 2012 / 5:23 am

    Hi Grace. I read your post with interest as I was really looking hard at this type of construction a number of years ago. The technology, or lack of it, intrigued me. I’d be interested to hear how it evolves.
    And thanks also for following my blog, I hope I can bring you something as well.
    Take care,
    Dwayne

    Like

  20. Cindy Green November 3, 2012 / 2:56 pm

    This is most impressive! Congratulations on being so forward thinking and acting!

    Like

    • Grace November 4, 2012 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks! The idea of a passive house is just too good to pass. I do hope that more and more people will jump into the bandwagon. 🙂

      Like

  21. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer November 18, 2012 / 1:33 am

    You say it will be quite a long time before it’s finished, and yet you’d like to be in by winter. Winter is only a month away; hurry up, builders; you’ve got to get grace and her family in the house very soon!

    Like

  22. Naomi Baltuck November 28, 2012 / 12:45 am

    Dear Grace,
    What a great idea! You are living my husband’s dream for an efficient self-sufficient house. He would like solar panels on the roof–maybe one day, but we look forward to hearing how you do with your wonderful house project!

    Like

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