Wisconsin House > Passive, net-zero energy home.

Owens-Pike Passive Net-Zero Energy Home

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Wisconsin House > Passive House

Wheeler, Wisconsin


Designed to meet Passive House standards, this super-insulated and passive solar home runs mostly on sunlight. The home uses less than 50% of the energy a typical home would use. The house thus far has performed to and exceeding net-zero energy standards – in fact, delivering more energy to the grid than it uses.

The house is situated on south facing slope and orients its south face directly to true south in order to maximize its potential for solar heat gain during the heating season. It was imperative that the house be able to take advantage of the natural solar heat gain during the winter but to block out any unwanted solar heat gain during the summer months in order to help keep the house cool.

In floor radiant heating systems were provide in the concrete portion of the floors. This system is separated into different independently controlled zones. A wood stove is located on the main floor to provide an additional or alternate heat source as desired.

No furnace or air conditioning systems are provided (though can be) in the home . The home’s natural ventilation is supplemented with ceiling fans and an air to air heat recovery exchange unit. This unit is connected to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry exhaust so that the heat from exhaust air is captured and helps to pre-temper any incoming outside air. This exchange can be by passed during humid summer months.


Lighting, appliances, equipment were selected to be low energy users.

Materials were selected to be local, or contain recycled content as much as possible. Low voc (volatile organic compounds) paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants and were used throughout the home.

Other green features of the project include:

  • Root Cellar Food Storage
  • On-site well and septic
  • R30 slab, R32 Fdtn Walls, R54 Exterior Walls, R80 Roof
  • Triple Glazed, Low-e insulated fiberglass windows
  • In Floor radiant Heating with Wood stove back up, Air to Air Heat Recovery Ventilation
  • Air tight construction
  • Advanced Framing Techniques
  • Passive Solar /Thermal Mass storage with exterior shading devices
  • Solar Domestic Hot Water System
  • Grid Tied Tracking Photovoltaic System
  • FSC certified Regional Wood Products
  • Low VOC paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants

Photo Gallery

Overall, the house has been performing splendidly, and we are very happy with it. It is hard to leave! Thank you again for all you contributed to the project. And just as an aside, you may remember that I was really against the foyer door …And now I am so grateful to have that door. It actually makes it more welcoming, once people are in the house, and it cuts down a lot on drafts from the north, as you predicted. Not the only time you were right, but I thought you might like to know!  



All photos by Gilbertson Photography. 


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