Eco-Panels and Passive House

There are many, many different prescriptive "green" building and low or even net-zero-energy building standards.  I once heard that there were over 500 in the US alone.  One thing that all of these standards SHOULD have in common is an initial and primary focus on a highly insulated and well sealed building envelope.  Over the years we have seen many of them, though one of the better known initiatives with international standing is the Passivhaus standard originating out of Germany (some simply call it Passive House).

One of our partners in New Zealand has been working with a Certified PassivHaus Architect/Designer to rate several homes with Eco-Panels as meeting the Passivhaus standard.  What is nice to hear - actually substantiating what we have been saying for a while - is that we have been able to achieve the Passive House standard using only our 4.5" panels THROUGHOUT the home - for both walls and roof.  Of couse this is climate and orientation specific, but New Zealand has a wide variety of climates, from those similar to the Canadian Rockies (Queenstown area) to the more semi-tropical North Island.  And our 6.5" thick R40 wall and roof panels have been shown to meet the PassivHaus standards in the colder regions.

What is especially nice to hear about this certification is that many Passive House "experts" claim a very prescriptive "R40 walls, R60 roof" (which we can provide!), but in fact it is largely unnecessary for most climates in North America (including Canada).  We understand the science that teaches us about the diminishing returns for incremental inches of insulation, and we are not afraid to discuss it and how it affects our panels.  Additionally these thicker walls - and especially the much thicker roof (which can be more than a foot thick if using the inferior EPS foam) can be unsightly in appearance.

The Passive House standard also requires a very high degree of air sealing - capable of achieving 0.6 air changes per hour (ACH) at 50 pascals of air pressure.  On even simple low cost homes we have beaten this by 20% so we are not worried about that.

Eco-Panels makes building an extremely energy tight home simple, fast and efficient.  Whatever energy efficient building standard you wish to pursue - start with the building envelope.  And if possible, start with Eco-Panels.