The First Passive House in Texas

March 30, 2018
Greenery by the window
Photo: Pexels

A passive house from Fagin Partners built on spec has hit the Dallas housing market, and is the first internationally certified passive house in Texas. Some passive advocates see this is as an attempt at making passive housing a new normal.

The builder says, "The Passive House originated in Germany and results in ultra-low energy usage,” said Connor. “We’ve got 14-inch thick [exterior] walls, an 18-inch thick roof, and even when we have a sharp temperature change outside, it takes about 24 hours for the heating or cooling system to have to turn on inside." TreeHugger reports that the house "has two air handling systems, one for heating and cooling and a second for 'air quality management'," which uses a MERV 13 filter to remove impurities. An intelligent energy recovery ventilator exhausts stale air out of the home.

The house has a 2500 gallon rainwater tank and "three miles of buried tubing create an irrigation soaker system that does not lose water to evaporation. There’s no roll off, which accounts for about 35 percent waste with traditional watering. Since there are no watering restrictions in Dallas for those using harvested water, a lush lawn is a real possibility, even in August." According to an article in the Dallas News, the house has R-34 walls insulated with cellulose and foam and R-48 cellulose roof, and hit .6 air changes per hour. Nancy Baldwin writes that "With all of these features, it would be easy to expect the house to have the ambience of a spaceship. Yet the 3,230-square-foot, two-story residence is open and inviting."

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