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A personal journey with Passive Builders

The pathway to a builder for Greg and Veronica Billman was determined by their environmental values. The couple were planning to build a home at their Sedgwick property overlooking the dramatic beauty of the region’s granite-strewn hills. They came to Passive Builders with the conviction they wanted to make as little impact on the property as possible. Their approach would determine their choice of materials, particularly for external walls and around the site.

In practical terms, Passive Builders’ method of construction was a good fit for the Billmans. Key to the method is a wall system with room for more insulation installed correctly for better performance. Based on Passive House principles, the certified wall membrane and sealing tape produced by Pro Clima are designed and installed to make the building envelope as airtight as possible but still be vapour-permeable. The result is a building that is durable with indoor air quality that’s consistently healthy and comfortable.

About to move in, Mr Billman said his expectation was that he’ll use the air conditioner “periodically, but not a lot”. Polished concrete floors in the living areas with access to winter, spring and autumn sunlight will help heat the home in cooler months. Eaves over the same windows will shade the building in summer.

Also incorporated into the design is practical zoning that will dramatically reduce cooling and heating energy costs. “We always meant for the house to be able to function as a one-bedroom home,” Mr Billman said.

The couple's sustainable building goals led them to choose the local granite as the material for a feature wall that graces the entrance of the home and extends into the living area. The rock was also used as base for the driveway.

Mr Billman said he concluded during the build that many of the features of his new home should be mandatory in all houses. The best passive solar principles cost very little.

“From the start, we knew we weren’t going to skimp on measures that were in line with our personal philosophy,” he said.

See for yourself the result of the Billman’s Passive Builders’ design and construct building journey at an Open House event on October 28. Register on our homepage.

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