We chose to build a passivhaus because it's a proven system of building that guarantees quality, comfort and energy efficiency. There are two choices beyond that: whether to build a house that's thermally massive or thermally light (put simply, masonry or timber-frame). Our first build, The Autonomous House, was built using the Passivhaus Planning Package and we chose masonry construction. We were very happy with how it performed over the five years we lived there, so we want to use the same method of construction for the new house. It will have a thermally massive central core that will absorb the heat of the sun in the warmer months and give that heat back slowly into the winter. Triple-glazed windows, meticulous airtightness detailing, masses of insulation and an efficient mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery will all help to keep the house at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Like The Autonomous House, this house will be 'upside-down', with bedrooms on the lower floor and the living areas upstairs. This works very well as it means the bedrooms stay cooler in the summer and the living areas are warmer in the winter (although the temperature in a well-built passivhaus stays fairly even throughout).
All of the above was in our design brief to the architects, but the rest we left up to them. We chose local company Rural Design (based in Portree) as we like what we've seen of their work, which shows great imaginative, contemporary design flair, balanced with sensitivity to the surroundings. The designs they came back with were very impressive and after just a few tweaks, the introduction of more stonework and the addition of a curve or two, we were happy.
We chose to build a passivhaus because it's a proven system of .