Passive Home Project in North Seattle

Exact Electric recently had the opportunity to collaborate with general contractor, Karl Jolles and homeowner, Arnold Jolles on building a passive house in north Seattle.

What is a Passive House?

A passive home is created by minimizing energy loss so that when heating or cooling is needed, it is provided by an extremely small resource. Passive homes are very well-insulated, virtually air-tight and primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people and electrical equipment. Passive homes have more stringent standards than LEEDs homes in order to be even more energy efficient.

Highlights from the general contractor and homeowner’s perspective:

“We wanted to create a home that is a partner rather than a possession – a partner with its homeowners, the community and with nature. Day to day operations should work harmoniously, such energy efficiency and a gravity water system for the garden. Everything we plant and build is focused on power management, safety, geotechnical response, water management and reducing pollution. We were happy to have found Exact Electric to help us with this goal.”

“Getting electricians to help us with this project was an ordeal until we met Zach with Exact Electric.”

“We got eight electrical bids and what we liked about Exact Electric is they were very upfront, very competent and showed great interest in the overall mission of the project. They were flexible, knowledgeable and extremely humble. With their expertise we were able to create the energy efficiencies we wanted.”

“Energy efficiency was key to our goal, which meant installation value was at the forefront of our design. In order to create great thermal conductivity the house was double studded. This means we could heat the house with candles or even a big party of people. It is also air sealed with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), which works continuously to ensure the cool air coming into the house is picking up the hot air leaving the house, creating an air loop. With Zach’s help we were able to achieve 85% efficiency in heat recovery.”

“Zach prepared us for the installation of solar panels and battery bandwidth as we continue to work on the house.

If the power goes out after an earthquake or other natural disaster, we have outlets that will work up to two to three days. Zach was very open to working with us on design so that we have an electrical plan that can have a contingency plan.”

“What we liked best about working with Zach is he did not just plan for what we wanted now, he thought about the design in terms of what we may want in the future. Essentially the sky’s the limit because he pre-installed conduits in the attic as well as breaker panels in an effort to anticipate additional ideas and needs.”

“Exact Electric was philosophically on board with the project and helped ensure we were up to code. We wanted a long-term partner that elevated the project and could offer ideas on how to make the project even better. Our goal is to build a partnership with nature and the community. They helped us make the project as economical as possible.”

“Exact Electric adapted to a system that is not typical. We have a completely separate circuit system that uses 1.5 kilowatts a day, which requires a different grid and compressed cast generator. If the city does not have power we will be able to operate computers, lamps and our freezer because of our emergency circuit system.”