A Passive Approach to Reducing Your Power Bill


The best way to heat your home is with your body.

That’s the belief of the passive house school of eco-friendly architecture. Its buildings avoid the energy-wasting constraints of conventional heating and cooling designs, in favor of technologies (triple-pane glazing, for example) that circulate and regulate temperature without drawing on more than minimal electricity. Minimal electricity can be met by solar power – and suddenly, you’ve got something excitingly near a closed loop. If you want more details, have a look at the Passive House Institute’s primer.

It’s the kind of environment you’d want your kids to grow up in. For Viking House and their German partners, this is more than a hopeful sentiment. They’re working hard to introduce Passive Schools across Frankfurt, Germany – a city that in 2007 decided that all schools and official buildings should be built and renovated to the passivhaus standard.

But it’s not just for new architecture: it’s a methodology for home improvement. Here and here are a few suggestions on how you can turn your home into the most economical in the neighborhood.

Image: Erik Charlton

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.