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  • Carol Mckee

Starting Over

So our big news is that we are starting over. In a few different ways.

We are working now with an architect that actually has a grounding in reality of construction costs. We are also exploring the possibility of using pre-assembled, Passive House (PH) method constructed wall panels to build our own home. More on that in another post.

We have hired a new architect, and we are targeting a house that is about 3300 ft.². We want a four bedroom house with two of the bedrooms being used as offices for both of us as my wife Carol owns a travel agency and we both need our own space.

We are in the schematic design phase of the project, and are hoping to have that phase done in the next few weeks. So we are going to build a passive house, but we are looking at going with the “prescriptive model", which is a different way of evaluating the efficacy of the PH technique, versus the traditional PH method. The net results are the same, it’s simply a matter of the specifics of how we get to the energy efficiency approval.

In short, the prescriptive model is much like a large checklist, and as long as we can check all the boxes, we will have achieved the goal. It sounds simpler than it is, but it is much less intense than the traditional energy modeling procedures for a certified Passive House.

In the mindset of furthering my professional education I am also learning a new program called SketchUp, that is a common program used by architects, and is compatible with other CAD drawing programs. Drawing in 3-D, is a lot more complicated and challenging, but I’ll get there.

So we are going forward with our own Passive House as we work through the design phase again. While it's been difficult to start over, we have learned a lot along the way, found a great architect to work with that we can use for our customers as well, and discovered what we believe is a better method for building in the prescriptive model described above and altogether gained wisdom in the process. All of which will help us not only build our own home better but also to better serve our customers in building their own Passive House project.

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