Small Passive House Can be Built in Just 10 Days

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Castlemaine Passivhaus, designed by the Australian architecture firm Carbonlite, was recently awarded the stringent Passive House certification, though the home is far from your typical building to meet this standard. At just 419 square feet, and a build time of only ten days, it certainly has the capability to bring passive construction closer to the general public.

It took Carbonlite only 5 days to prefabricate the home’s sections off-site. These were then delivered to the building site, where it took the builders one day to erect the exterior and make the structure wind and watertight. The rest of the home was constructed in the next 10 days, so all told, the home was manufactured and built in just 16 days.

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The Castlemaine Passivhaus has a mono pitch roof that features an overhang, which works to provide shade and minimizes solar heat gain in the summer. The home has a wooden frame, and it was insulated using wool and wood fiber insulation. The home therefore has an exterior U-value of 0.261 W per square meter.

The home was fitted with a Sanden air-to-water heat pump and its annual heating demand was calculated to be 0.6 kWh/sq ft (6 kWh per sq m). To take care of the ventilation needs of the home the builders installed a Lunos system, which provides the home with an air tightness performance of “less than 0.6 air changes per hour.”

Annually, the home’s heating, electricity and hot water demands are calculated to be only 11 kWh/sq ft (115 kWh/sq m). Castlemaine Passivhaus is also equipped with a PV panel array, which harvests enough energy to offset some of the home’s electricity demand. The home also features a 4,000 liter (1,000-gallon) tank to collect rainwater, which can be used to irrigate the garden, and for other needs that do not require the use of clean, filtered water.


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  • John C Hansen. LEED AP

    I appreciate that you have added the off-site prefabrication time and the on-site erection time to the overall construction time to total 16 days. Was the foundation being built at the same time that the walls were being built off-site? How long did it take to transport the walls to the site? How long was the permit process? When did the family move into their new home?

    I am simply looking for a realistic total project duration.

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