Why Passive House costs more And how to shrink the premium

26 January 2022 by Jason Quinn

If you’ve met Christchurch Passive House builder Peter Bielski, you’ll know he’s a man of few and well-chosen words, not minced. His company is involved in an ambitious project to create a new sub-division of certified Passive House Plus homes. In a recent blog post, he tackles the question of cost premiums for Passive House performance.

He’s quite right: when you compare a certified Passive House to the worst house you can legally build, you are getting much more. And it will also cost more. He spells out the extra materials and time involved to build with them. Like the cars he compares them to, both provide transport but the comfort and ease varies and so does the price. That shouldn’t be news.

I look forward to hearing the advice Pete has promised on how to contain the budget with a custom architectural Passive House home. That bespoke single-family, free-standing home with design merit is the market segment he works in and he’ll have a valuable perspective about how to create efficiencies for those projects.

But we can build certified Passive House homes for New Zealanders with minimal or no premium compared to Code—when those homes are apartments. Terraced housing is another possibility. I’ve written about this regularly, referring to examples of efficiently-built social housing in the US and Europe: browse those posts here.