Sunnyvale Passive House – Life With No Power Bills

It's a very energy efficient house. It's a very comfortable house. All the things that you could want. It's a beautiful house that just happens to be extremely energy efficient and all of the great things that come along with that. And our cat loves the house. That's the important thing. We're in Sunnyvale, California today checking out a beautiful Passive House inspired build. Let's go catch up with homeowners Michael and Michelle to hear more about it. My name is Michael and I'm Michelle and we live in Sunnyvale California which is in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. I just love the way the house looks. It's very beautiful. When we started the design concept we wanted like a very peaceful, little bit of a minimalistic look, very relaxing and yet modern. So we feel really happy with the result. We were very involved in the design process. We knew we didn't want to huge house. And so we wanted to make sure that we really utilize the space and we were as energy efficient with all of our appliances and heating and cooling as possible.

We have water heater which is very efficient. We have an electric heat pump for heat. We heat our house in the winter, cool in the summer with less than you would use for running a hair dryer. All of those energy efficiency criteria that were built into the house have been great. And I should add that we have an electric car that we drive everyday and we had sized the the solar to make sure that we have enough electricity for our solar car and actually that we could get another one in the future and it's great at the end of the year to see that we are producing more electricity than we use in the course of the year. So we're way more than a net-zero electric house. Having an architect build the house all the little things that go into it.The way that the house is laid out, the shape of it, the way the roof is attached: all of those things are part of the energy efficiency of a home.

So if you try to design a house without really knowing all those things it wouldn't work out right. If you designed house, but had a builder who didn't know how to do it, it wouldn't work out right. Have a good design-build from the beginning. Efficiency comes with efficient use of space. So along the middle wall of the house we have sliding a sliding barn door for a coat closet one for a pantry and also one for an office. The office especially is a great use of space. We didn't really need a separate bedroom for an office. We really just needed enough room for a desk and some cabinets. So that's an example of using spaces as wisely as possible. The longer term of building a house that we thought was in keeping with our ethics of the feeling that we were doing something that was going to contribute to society. Not be a drain in society and having her children be able to live in that and inspiring them to know "wow I can live in this beautiful house" and it's energy efficient and passing that on to them and letting them know that this is important in you can do it.

Besides maybe recouping your money and saving money in the long run also living in the house is very pleasant. The temperature is very constant so you don't get hot and then cold in the hot and then cold. When the heating is coming on and off you don't get draftiness when you're walking through the house walking by windows and doors.

This house is located in a neighborhood that's pretty noisy and it's really quiet and inside our house. We have an airport nearby and it really cuts down on the noise level. So the actual comfort that you feel inside your home should also probably factored into how much you're willing to pay upfront. Think about what's important to you. Am I willing to spend more to get energy efficient home that's beautiful to live in and comfortable to live in that I'm going to love for the next 25 years.

Or am I more worried about having the latest and greatest appliances and I'm willing to pay more for that. So what's important to you and recognizing that having a beautiful house that's very energy efficient: there's value to that. One thing that was surprising when they build the foundation you think "wow the house is huge" and then they start putting off the outside framing. You're like, "oh no what do we do it's not big enough the rooms are too tiny" and then they put up the walls and like you're like "okay. It's the right size"..

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