Every day I’m listening how bad climate change is going, how Antarctic is melting, how big are fires in Australia, south America or Africa. But we don’t need to search so far away, I see that just next to our house – there is no snow during the winter, no rains during the summer, less water in our tank and a big heat and dry during the summer.
But what we can do in our every day living? I heard that 3 things can really make the difference and slow down the climate change catastrophe.
1. Be a vegan – most of the methane is from cows and pigs production
2. Use only public transport (except flying)
3. Live in passive house.
We always tried to be more ecological, recycle our trash, use public transport, eat less meat, don’t heat our flat too much, to grow own veggies in balcony and then we started to think about our house. So we decided to build an passive house by ourselves . Our building starts in 2015, check our blog on, it’s still under construction.
What does passive house mean?
The name passive house is because, to heat that house we use as a primary energy passive sun energy which heats our rooms through big windows on south and keeping (because of great insulation) every energy from inside the house like from cooking, using electro devices, lighting or only being there (1 person = 100W ).
What it should have to be a passive?
1. It’s planned and rotated in that way, that biggest windows to living rooms are on south – passive sun energy heats that rooms.
Toilets, bathrooms, technic parts are on north where are the smallest windows – smaller energy loss.
2. It’s perfectly insulated from every side with insulation 20-30cm (floor, walls and roof, windows with triple glass, no heat-bridges) . In our house the wall with insulation is 50cm. Practical, to heat our whole house (110m2) we use 1x 2000W heater (radiator).
3. The energy that we use for heating water and heating the house should have 70% renewable. Our energy is electricity from photovoltaic power station on roof, when there is no sun, we are taking energy from network). We don’t have nothing else (like gas or wood stove etc.). In future, we would like to have batteries to use sun energy during the evening and night and don’t use the power from network.
4. When house is perfectly insulated, you need to have an air circulation to keep fresh air and warm inside the house.
For passive houses are ventilation with recuperation – it means, that we change the air for fresh but warm/temperature is keeping inside the house. Practical, during most of the year we don’t open the windows to change the air, because there is fresh air all the time.
5. It can be build almost from any material, important is to keep the orientation of house, details to protect house from heat bridges and think about renewable energy. Our house is from grey polystyrene blocks, filled with concrete and roxors.
6. To make that house more ecological we also:
– collect rain water in 8,5m3 container with pump and we are using it for washing machine and flushing the toilets.
– collect water from kids small bath and water the plants on the garden
– have only led lamps with small consumption
– kitchen appliance like dishwasher, fridge, stove etc are in A++ class to minimalize energy loss
– building a permaculture garden for fresh vegetables for at least 6 months a year and 2 months on preserve vegetables and fruits like pickles, jams, sauces.
– cleaning only with soda, vinegar and citron.
If you are thinking about reconstruction or building a new one, we can only recommend a passive house and hand made working. It’s a great teambuilding for whole family.Before we started to build our house, we visited some passive houses in Czech republic during Passive house open days to see how it’s really working. Now, we open our house for interested guests during that days to promote that kind of houses and to contribute a little fight against global warming.
Author: Anna Kubica, PE teacher and sport instructor, instructor of learning through experience education, author of “Sports of the world program” on outdoor camps – lover of new games and activities, gardener of permaculture garden,Montessori education enthusiast and mum of 2 boys – Przemek i Wojtek.