Can I build a prefab house from shipping containers and still meet Passivhaus requirements?
The German Passive House Technology has been used successfully in thousands of buildings -- from single and multifamily residences, to schools, factories and office buildings -- over the past 10 years in Europe. This concept can help reduce energy consumption by up to 90% while at the same time creating a comfortable building. Currently, only a handful of passive homes have been developed in the United States, where the following improved construction methods are used:
+ more insulation
+ better windows
+ high air-tightness
+ heat recovery from exhaust air
Yes, it is possible to build a Passive House out of shipping containers. Your question of how to incorporate high performance windows and doors into such a structure depends on the final design of your house. Will the house consist of a single container? Will it be constructed out of multiple containers? Will the shipping containers be incorporated in a structure using other construction methods? Very important also is the amount of glazing of your structure as well as its orientation. Additionally you have to consider local building codes and restrictions. We would recommend you work with an architect experienced in pulling permits for residential container structures as well as someone familiar with the Passive House Technology.
With expertise in both container architecture and Passive House Technology, our German-American architectural studio with collaborators in Portland would be very interested in developing such a prototype with you. You can find an example of a on our webpage.