Here are some images of our fourth Passive House project in Santa Fe. This house not only pushes energy conservation, but water conservation as well. It also uses a new wall system to reduce use of ‘Foam Insulation’ on the project. The first image shows the new wall truss system. This portion of the wall is about 13″ in width and will receive dense-pack insulation to the tune of R48. The total wall width will be about 16″ with a value of R54. The air barrier is located inside the wall and the wall is breathing towards the outside. This is best practice in our climate zone as we have a sunny/dry climate and the assembly always has the chance to dry to the outside (of course you have to use the right materials).
The second image shows the under-the-foundation insulation. We use 8 inches around the perimeter (R32) and 6 inches under the slab (R24). The foundation is the one area where we use ‘Foam Insulation’ exclusively. There are alternative materials to use other than ‘Foam’, but they are very expensive and not available in our state! However, the Passive House Dorm we’re designing in Montana is absolutely ‘Foam Free’ from top to bottom (Canadian Supplier!)
The third image is the forming of the concrete overhang patio. It also shows the large openings of the living room windows.This is a challenging facade of the building as it faces west and has the main view. The west is our overheating enemy during summer and no overhang will remedy this situation as the sun gets very low in the sky. So, we have developed an automatic shading that automatically closes when the sun hits the sensor at a particular angle. This system will work even when occupants are not home and ensures that the house will not get overheated. Another reason to use the automatic system is that we can close the shade before the house gets overheated because if you close the shade when you feel the house is too warm, it’s already too late as the system will have to work harder to extract the heat from inside. Of course, as with any automatic system, you have the option of overriding it just in-case.
I almost forgot, this house is also fully accessible with great care to details for an aging occupant