Construction Maeconomics Conference 2014

Comparison between economic viability of passive houses and conventional houses based on the cost benefits analysis


Šárka Konášová


The objective of this article is to compare economic viability of passive houses to conventional houses based on the cost benefits analysis. The passive house concept represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating or cooling energy consumption of buildings. On average passive houses are reported to be more expensive upfront than conventional buildings of equivalent size and layout. For this reason, investors often ask whether passive houses are economically viable: will the extra cost pay back in the long-run through fuel savings? Several studies have offered cost-benefit analyses to address this, usually based on modelled heating or cooling consumption figures and prescriptive approaches to setting values for unknowable variables such as future fuel price rises and the investor’s discount rate. Unfortunately, an economic analysis can take into account only quantifiable factors such as the amount of future energy savings. Advantages of quality buildings with significantly higher quality indoor environment cannot be quantified financially. Nevertheless, the quality and comfortable housing is often the most important factor in decision making. The paper offers displays of results which should help investors to choose the best solution for their purpose.


Keywords: passive house, conventional house, cost benefits analysis, energy savings

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