These amazing homes cost nothing to run


Tired of household bills draining your bank account each month? Airtight, energy-efficient and eco-friendly, a passive home could help you wave goodbye to costly outgoings for good. From sealed structures to renewable technology, these beautiful properties around the world keep running costs to a bare minimum – and don’t worry, there’s space for the whole family. Click or scroll for more…



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Inside, black beams and metalwork contrast with luminous white walls and pale wood floors. The thick exterior cladding offers an impressive level of thermal insulation, keeping the home’s interior warm and cosy in the bitter winter months.



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The airtight retreat offers an array of stylish modern living zones, from the sociable open-plan living area to the balconies that flank the home’s numerous levels. There’s plenty of space for the whole family to stretch out too, with four sizeable bedrooms located across the first floor and fourth floor.



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Located in inner-city Melbourne, this contemporary family home has been designed with energy efficiency in mind. Built with an airtight, passive design, everything from the orientation of the windows to the durability of the construction materials has been meticulously planned.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Across the interior, warm wood sits alongside crisp white surfaces, punctuated by vibrant pops of colour. Large picture windows draw light and heat into the stylish living accommodation, while the energy-efficient structure moderates the temperature for a warm, comfy environment.



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Outside, a brick terrace, accessed by sliding glass doors, offers the ideal place for dinner parties to spill out in the balmy Melbourne summers. A slatted panel shields diners from direct sunlight, while concrete planters and foliage create an urban oasis in the midst of the city.



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Situated on a sloping plot, the 5,000-square-foot property is surprisingly sleek and unobtrusive, hovering just above the rural landscape. A grass roof helps to insulate the structure, blurring the line between the residence and the surrounding meadows, while adjacent solar panels generate electricity for the home.



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Expanses of glass frame the rolling hills, drawing in light and solar gains to warm the eclectic living spaces. The property recorded an impressive airtightness level of 0.49 [email protected], which is well within the threshold for passive house classification.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Spanning 2,755 square feet, the interior comprises a series of flexible living spaces, designed to be easily reconfigured when the homeowner’s needs change in the future. Bursts of colour add personality, while smooth concrete floors evoke a raw, industrial edge.



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Built to a strict budget, the architects wanted to show that passive house design can be both a beautiful and affordable home design route. Sustainably grown, water-resistant cork was used across the interior and exterior of the property to add insulation and soundproofing.



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To ensure construction costs were kept relatively low, contractors with no previous experience in passive design were trained on site, while surplus materials were used to reduce waste. Powered by a 9kW solar PV set-up, the impressive home also has a metering agreement with the local utility company, meaning the homeowner’s energy bills are cancelled out by the energy they return to the grid each year. Not a bad deal!



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


The home’s 65-foot roof span features a Catalan vault, which is an old construction method from the 14th century. It comprises a layer of 26,000 locally handmade clay tiles, with a green roof installed on top to help insulate the property. The roof also harvests rainwater to recycle for use throughout the house.



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The property has a biomass boiler for passive heating, while a combination solar electric and solar hot water array provides endless renewable energy. The structure also incorporates phase change materials (PCM) – substances that can release energy as they change from solid to liquid and back again, similar to hand warmer packs – to store heat in the winter and to help regulate the temperature in warmer weather.



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Triple-glazed windows to the south of the home help to keep the interior cosy, while a vacuum-insulated front door offers the equivalent of 20 inches of foam insulation. Airtight and sustainably built, the eco-house makes a yearly energy profit thanks to its innovative design.



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Situated in the heart of New York City’s Columbia Waterfront District, this sleek modernist townhouse was constructed to meet meticulous passive house standards. Previously on the market back in 2018 for $4.5 million (£3.6m), the sustainable city pad certainly isn’t short on style either.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


The four impeccable bedrooms are decked out in the same pared-back neutral palette. Triple-gazed floor-to-ceiling windows ensure swathes of sunlight flood the home, while the structure’s innovative passive design keeps the internal temperature comfortable no matter the season.



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Outside, the raised deck descends into a private courtyard – a peaceful oasis in the hubbub of the Big Apple. Framed by high wood-clad walls, the idyllic suntrap offers complete privacy from neighbouring townhouses.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


The innovative home features a 4kW solar arrangement that produces electricity to run the property, in conjunction with a hydro-generator. The house creates so much excess energy that the homeowners have even bought an electric car to make use of the surplus.



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The property’s design is solar passive, with its north-east orientation soaking up sunshine to heat the separate wings. While the home isn’t reliant on traditional energy sources, it doesn’t scrimp on interior finishes, with stunning light-filled living spaces, handsome wood ceilings and swathes of windows framing the stunning views.



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Kettering House is incredibly water-efficient too, featuring composting toilets in its two bathrooms. Greywater is treated via grease traps and reed bed systems, then recycled and used to irrigate the orchard. Talk about a smart house!



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Clad in charming wood shingles, this characterful country retreat is a far cry from the angular, modern architecture that often springs to mind when we think of passive houses. Found in Morristown, Vermont the quaint cottage has more than a few tricks up its sleeve…



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Offering light, airy living spaces framed by warm wooden beams, the home’s endearing design is as airtight as they come, fulfilling all passive house standards. The eco-friendly hideaway also boasts state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances and high-speed Wi-Fi, so you can still stay connected to the outside world.



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Nestled in the eaves, the bedrooms have just as much character as the rest of the home, from the wood-panelled ceilings to the clever built-in storage cubbies. The sealed structure offers impressive levels of insulation and moisture resistance, keeping the interior warm in the biting winter and cool in the hot Vermont summer.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Swathes of folding bamboo screens adorn the façade, allowing light to filter through the slats. In the warmer months, the panels can be opened up to integrate the interior with the large garden outside.



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The living spaces are spread across a generous open floor plan, with a tactile pairing of light timber and concrete flooring carrying through the natural palette from the exterior. An array of solar panels affixed to the roof help supply the home with power.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


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