Design firm Needbased has recently completed a home in New Mexico, which has achieved both the Passive House Certification as well as meet the highest National Association of House Builders (NAHB) green building standard. Taoshouse, as the home is called, is therefore one of a very US homes few to obtain the certification given out by the Passive House Institute in Germany. This home will also run only on the electricity harvested from the sun.
To meet this goal, Taoshouse is fitted with nine 230 W photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy, while it also boasts of a variety of other features which help to minimize its power consumption. It was completed ten months ago, and during this time the house has used 3,100 kWh and generated 2,800 kWh of electicity. The designers expect that in the first year the home’s energy consumption will be higher because of the moisture still suffusing the building materials used. Once the home has had time to dry out completely, this consumption will come down. The home is connected to the grid, and can also feed any extra electricity it generates back into it.
Taoshouse has an internal area of 1,632 square feet (152 sq m), and covers an area of 2,870 square feet (267 sq m). The home is cooled by using passive shading and night-sky cooling. To minimize heat loss, the walls, roof and under floor of the home are all very well insulated. The home was also fitted with high performance Zola windows. The home was also equipped with an energy recovery ventilator, which conditions incoming air with air that is being exhausted from the building, meaning that incoming air can be warmed and dehumidified. For heating the builders installed an underfloor hydronic radiant system.