Passive Tiny House Builder
If your going to build a tiny off the grid home then an Energy Efficient Passive Tiny House is a great design to consider.
The tiny house movement is getting more popular each and every day along with a resurgence of simple living combined with modern design. One of the big challenges to living in a Tiny House is making them energy efficient enough to live off grid for extended periods of time. Just because a home is small doesn’t mean it’s necessarily energy efficient or green. Energy efficiency and green building techniques have to be a part of the plan from the very beginning. At Gambrick, we design all of our Modern Tiny Homes to be energy efficient right from that start and we use as much recycled material and green building techniques as possible.
Gambrick’s High Efficiency Tiny Homes have superior indoor air quality and comfort while reducing heating and cooling energy use. They’re super insulated and virtually air tight, requiring minimal energy for HVAC. Because of all this a typical Gambrick Tiny House uses up to 90% less heating and cooling energy and has an average 70% less overall energy consumption compared with a standard Tiny Home.
We even build some of our Tiny Houses to Passive House Standards which makes them the most Energy Efficient Tiny Homes in the world, by far.
Gambrick Builds The Worlds Most Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes
Gambrick designs and builds Tiny Houses to the Passive House Standard with makes them so energy efficient they don’t require conventional heating and cooling systems. This is achieved without sacrificing comfort or building aesthetics. And it’s extremely cost effective.
Have you ever heard of a Passive House? It’s the most energy-efficient building standard in the world. Better than Leed, better than Energy Star®, better than every other standard we’ve got. It relies on three key but simple requirements: low air infiltration, low energy consumption for heating & cooling, and a low overall energy budget for the building.
Gambrick is one of the few Passive House Builders working in North America and we’ve taken what we’ve learned building Passive Homes and applied it to our Tiny Passive Houses.
We use the following techniques in all of our Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Homes:
- Greatly increased R-Values throughout the Tiny House.
- A near air tight exterior seal.
- Triple pane glass windows and doors.
- HRV system.
- Energy efficient HVAC, appliances and lighting.
- Smart design.
Advantages Of Energy Efficiency
There are so many benefits to building an Extremely Energy Efficient Passive Tiny House, here are just a few:
- High quality durable construction
- High comfort levels (stable air temperature)
- Healthy indoor air quality (extremely low levels of allergen, particulate matter, and balanced humidity levels)
- Predictable performance and reliability (our Tiny Homes are tested and certified)
- Efficiency levels allow for affordable net zero structures
- Cost Effective
The cost of energy is rising rapidly — and not just in dollars. And our environment is also paying the price. Because non-renewable energy consumption, carbon emissions, and pollution are all on the rise. In the U.S., 39% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings which include residential homes.
Don’t Build A New Tiny Home With Old Ideas
Because when you build a home the traditional way, You’re settling.
Settling for a home that delivers high energy bills and waste. That burdens you daily with:
- Frigid floors
- Expensive heating and cooling bills
- Uneven room temperatures
- Dry, dirty air
- No built in sound barriers
- No long term saving benefits
Life is difficult enough. Your Tiny Home should be anything but. Consider building a High Performance Passive Tiny House from Gambrick, and eliminate the downsides that come with just about every other traditionally built Tiny Home.
A Passion For Building Modern Tiny Homes
We’re a Passive Tiny Home Builder, Designer, and Enthusiast who has a genuine passion for the Tiny House Movement. Because we actually design and build homes of all sizes, we have a unique and practical perspective on what works and what doesn’t in a tight living space. Gambrick is constantly pushing the boundaries of both quality and innovation to build the highest quality Tiny Homes possible.
Our build team has a combined experience of over 100 years in Home Design and Construction. The people involved in designing and building your Tiny Passive House are the same ones we use on every project no matter the size or budget. This integrative design/build approach means that we’re there every step of the way doing the actual work. From the first sketch to the final screw, our staff works hard to ensure your Passive Tiny House is innovative and built to the finest standards.
Ultra Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Houses
A new Ultra Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Home built by Gambrick involves working intimately with our clients to ensure that their dreams, desires, and priorities move from conception to construction. Building a new Tiny Home represents one of the biggest decisions a homeowner will make. Working with our skilled and experienced team will ensure success.
Imagine working with a Tiny House builder focused only on your home, your goals, and your satisfaction.
Gambrick builds some of the finest Luxury Homes in New Jersey. We’re one of the only builders in the State qualified and experienced enough to call themselves a New Jersey Passive House Builder. We work with each client to set the standard for uncompromising craftsmanship in custom home building. We’re one of the only custom builders who specialize in modern construction techniques, green home building, contemporary homes, LEED, Net Zero Construction and Passive Home Construction. And now we’re bringing all of our skill and experience to Tiny Homes.
As a Luxury Home Builder, we also offer design services covering architecture, interior and exterior design, landscape design, civil and structural engineering, green building techniques and energy efficiency.
Durability | Air Quality | Energy Efficiency
The difference between an Ultra Energy Efficient Tiny House built by Gambrick compared with other manufacturers is found in our design and the materials we use. By designing a Tiny House to be Energy Efficient from the ground up it influences every aspect of the home’s construction. All of our material selections, appliances, lighting, HVAC, insulation, siding, etc. all have to meet a high efficiency standard and abide by the Passive House Standard.
We use building techniques that no other manufacturer uses like including a nearly air tight seal, triple pane glass, vastly superior insulation levels, energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, thermal breaks and an HRV system that not only increases efficiency but also purifies the air.
High Performance Systems.
Our choice of building materials such as tapes, gaskets, and lumber all contribute to superior air tightness which improve the air quality and energy efficiency of your Tiny Passive House.
Our walls manage moisture by utilizing the smart vapor permeance benefits of OSB and the hygroscopic properties of cellulose. A semi-vapor open assembly allows for drying in both directions, making it ideal for all climates. Balanced, continuous mechanical ventilation manages interior humidity reducing the amount of moisture that enters the assembly.
Green Building Materials.
We offer a variety of options and materials based on the clients needs.
High Performance Glass
Save energy and increase comfort with triple glazed windows and doors that meet the strict requirements of Passive House.
High Performance Heating & Cooling
Fossil fuel free, highly efficient, electric heating and cooling systems powered by renewable energy to achieve zero source energy consumption.
Indoor Air Quality
Healthy Homes For Life
Heat Recovery Ventilation
A highly efficient Heat Recovery Ventilation system (HRV) delivers fresh air to your Tiny Passive House while exhausting an equal amount of stale and moist air.
Our wall construction and ventilation system manages moisture better than any other Tiny House design.
No / Low Voc Materials
All materials in our homes are screened from an indoor air quality perspective, to avoid unhealthy materials and off-gassing.
Why We Need More Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Homes
Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for a large amount of global energy use, resource consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Residential energy use accounts for an estimated 20% of the total US energy consumption. Building your Tiny House to the passive House Standard can reduce this energy consumption by up to 90%.
Who knew such a small home could make this big an impact.
Gambrick’s Tiny Homes are the most energy-efficient on the market. Even without solar panels a Gambrick Tiny Passive House require very little energy for heating, cooling, or hot water.
With up to a 90% heating and cooling energy reduction, savings begin right away, and grow as energy prices rise. Some Passive Homes have been so efficient they can be maintained with 60 watts of power. Some homes can’t even reach 60watts with everything in the home turned off.
High-end windows and doors are virtually maintenance-free. And the reduction of a furnace, boiler or other conventional HVAC systems means that there are fewer “moving parts” to repair or maintain. Better quality materials last a lot longer than the cheap stuff.
Strong construction means a much more resilient home.
Whether it’s the next super storm, or a crippling polar vortex, you can rest easy knowing that you’re comfortable and secure.
Your Tiny Passive House includes an HRV (Heat recovery ventilator). It pumps in fresh air while circulating out the old. As the stale air is replaced, it’s heat is absorbed and re-used by the HRV. Pollutants, pollen, germs and dust are pumped out of the house on a constant basis keeping the air inside fresh and clean.
Air Tight Construction
An air tight layer is one of the most important parts of a Passive Tiny House. And one of the hardest to build.
Air leaking through your walls not only results in energy loss, but more importantly it can compromise the durability of a structure by trapping in water vapors. Preventing air leakage is the most cost effective measure of reducing energy loss and is the “secret sauce” of how we build such Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes.
Passive House Certification requires buildings to achieve air leakage no greater than .6 ACH at 50 pascals of pressure. It’s not an easy standard to meet but well worth the effort when you do.
What Is Air Tight Construction?
Gambrick’s superior construction process includes an airtight building envelope. To achieve a “continuous uninterrupted airtight building envelope” we implement the Passive House “red pencil method.”
Essentially, in every sectional drawing of the structure an unbroken red line should represent the boundary of an airtight barrier. We take this concept and integrate it into our Tiny House design and construction process which ensures no compromised construction methods due to poor planning or execution.
Details are important – but what’s more important is the basic concept. A building envelope can only be airtight if it consists of just one uninterrupted airtight envelope enclosing the whole heated space
Traditional Tiny Home construction methods use multiple semi-airtight layers in an attempt to achieve the same energy saving benefits of a continuous unbroken barrier. But this type of construction always fails and leakage occurs. While insulation improves energy efficiency, it’s not very air tight. An air tight home saves a significant amount on your heating and cooling expenses, which in turn reduces power usage.
Efficiency creates a more sustainable Tiny Home, reducing your home’s carbon footprint and saving you money. This is one of the reasons why Gambrick is truly a “Green Tiny Home Builder.”
Superior Triple-Glazed Windows & Doors
The window frames must be well insulated and fitted with low-e glazing filled with argon or krypton to prevent heat transfer. For most cool-temperate climates, this means a U-value of 0.80 W/(m²K) or less (R-value 1.25 or higher), with g-values around 50% (g-value= total solar transmittance, proportion of the solar energy available for the room).
- Energy Efficient. Triple pane windows and doors are the most energy efficient on the market today.
- Safety. Three panes of glass are much harder to break through than 2 or 1 which adds an additional layer of home safety in terms of break ins or storm damage from wind blown debris.
- No More Condensation. Super efficient triple-pane glass, with its excellent resistance to temperature transfer, resists that sweaty glass look which can happen with less insulated glass.
- More Low-E. A triple pane window with 1 coat of Low-E vs. the same window with 2 coats of Low-E translates into 12% improvement in ER rating.
- Triple Pane Windows are more soundproof. One thing ENERGY STAR ratings don’t take into consideration is how well the windows prevent sound transmission. An extra pane of glass does a lot to block outside noises.
Our Tiny Homes Use Energy Saving Windows & Doors
In your typical Tiny House, windows and doors are one of the biggest areas for both air leakage and energy loss. Gambrick’s Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes use high performance, specially designed windows and doors to eliminate this concern.
With proper orientation and strategic placement Gambrick’s windows and doors actually become an important part of a Passive Tiny Home’s heating system.
Thermal Bridge Free Construction
To maintain a consistent temperature, walls must not only be well insulated, but thermal bridge free. Our Ultra Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes are super insulated and thermal bridge free. The result is a more comfortable home that’s cheaper to heat and cool as well as having superior air quality when compared to a traditional Tiny House.
What is Thermal Bridging?
A thermal bridge is an area where heat can transfer through an insulated wall. Usually this is through the wall studs. Even though the spaces between the studs is insulated, heat uses the stud as a bridge to the outside. No matter how thick your insulation, if you don’t eliminate the bridge you’ll still lose heat.
Thermal bridges can significantly reduce the overall R-Value of a wall. Gambrick’s Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Houses are designed to eliminate thermal bridges which lowers heat loss.
Well insulated walls not only reduce energy consumption, but also greatly increase the long-term durability of your Tiny House. By maintaining consistent surface temperatures through the wall we reduce the possibility of mold growth.
Click HERE to learn more about Thermal Bridge Free Construction.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is developed from two types of composite materials, polyurethane and isocyanate. When combined, these two materials chemically react, causing it to expand and harden.
Both materials are simultaneously sprayed from the tip of a spray foam gun. The substance expands to form a protective layer of spray foam insulation that fills all the small cracks.
There are two types of spray foam insulation, open-cell and closed-cell.
- Open-cell spray foam is denser than closed-cell spray foam insulation, and is spongy to the touch. This gives it an effective sound dampening effect. It’s less expensive than closed-cell spray foam insulation which is why it’s more popular.
- Closed-cell insulation is what we use on our Tiny Passive Homes. While it’s more expensive than open-cell, it has a long list of benefits that we’ll cover below.
Benefits of Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation
- Powerful Insulator. Because of its expansive nature, spray foam tightly seals all nooks and crannies that otherwise would have been left exposed. Spray foam’s ability to provide an air-tight seal is ranked at R-6. It’s the highest rank on the market today.
- Incredible Energy Savings. Because spray foam in such a powerful insulator, homeowners can save a significant amount on their energy costs. Spray foam insulation has shown to provide energy savings an average of 50% or more. Contrast that with other types of insulation that average a savings rate of about 30%.
- Air Tight Seal. Spray foam insulation is great at sealing holes and cracks that standard insulation can’t. Air leaks are one of the biggest reasons for high energy bills. Spray foam insulation creates a much tighter seal that has shown to be 24 times less permeable to air infiltration than other types of insulation.
- Moisture Barrier. Because holes and cracks can let in more than just air. Moisture can potentially gain access to these areas if not properly sealed. Spray foam insulation is impermeable to water. This means that not only will spray foam thoroughly seal and protect from airborne moisture and leaks, but if flooding should occur, spray foam insulation will not absorb water like other materials will.
- Resists Mold. Since spray foam doesn’t absorb moisture and is naturally resistant to mold.
- Eco Friendly. One of the most common inquiries made about spray foam insulation is if it is eco-friendly. While the insulation itself isn’t a green product, the savings on energy costs are. So in the end it’s generally considered a net positive.
How Much Insulation Does A Tiny Passive House Need?
Any Passive House regardless of it’s size requires a lot more insulation than your typical home. But not all Passive Homes created equal.
The insulation we install in your new Passive Tiny House will vary depending on your needs and your building science climate zone. One of the fundamental principles of building science is that buildings must be engineered for their climate demands. When they’re not, problems can happen. Maybe they’re not as efficient as they should be. Or maybe it’s something much worse. Install a plastic layer between the drywall and framing of your exterior walls in Maine and it can help control vapor and moisture problems. Put that exact same plastic in your Florida home, and you’re most likely going to cause rot in the walls.
Because of this Passive House has created a scale for the required insulation values depending on your climate. The values range from R-44 – R-120 in the ceilings and floors. R-19 – R-90 in the walls. That’s some serious insulation.
In addition to all that spray foam we also use the following:
- A nearly air tight vapor barrier
- Triple pane windows and doors
- High efficiency appliances and HVAC equipment
- An HRV system
- Thermal breaks
- LED lighting
- Renewable energy
Do all that and what you get is the most efficient Tiny House in the World. A Passive Tiny House designed and built by Gambrick.
Ventilation & Heat Recovery
Our Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes include an HRV (heat recovery ventilator). It’s an essential system that helps ensure the health and comfort of your Tiny House.
The primary function of an HRV is maintaining exceptional indoor air quality at all times. In a nutshell, the HRV is responsible for exchanging stale air with fresh outdoor air. This process needs to be continuous in order to have clean air at all times, thus the need for an HRV.
HRV systems recover heat from the air that evaporates from hot water that’s used in bathrooms and kitchens and transfers the heat to the fresh air that’s ventilated into the home.
Essentially an HRV is a heat recycling system. Instead of losing heat to the outdoors, as the replaces stale interior air with fresh outdoor air it re-uses the heat.
Let’s now take a closer look at the importance and the benefits of having an HRV.
Advantages of Good Indoor Air Quality
In a small home it’s easy for the air to become stale or smelly. In larger homes, the volume of air is much greater per person so it takes a lot longer for this to happen. But in a small space air can get stale much faster. A constant supply of fresh clean air is an important element to consider, especially in Winter when you may not want to open the windows and doors.
- Promotes Respiratory Health: A wide range of allergens can irritate your lungs. These airborne particles come in different forms, such as pollen, dust, mold, and pest debris. An HRV filters outdoor air and wards off those unwelcome pollutants.
- Breathe More Easily: The last thing you want is to experience breathing difficulties because of poor air quality. With an HRV, breathing clean air becomes effortless.
- Regulated Temperature: A lack of, or excess, of humidity in your home results in an uncomfortable household. Having a high-quality HRV ensures that your indoor temperature is more comfortable.
- Improved Sleep: Because our breathing changes while sleeping, especially during the REM stage. An HRV helps promote normal breathing patterns when you sleep.
- Odor Filtering: Although bad odors aren’t exactly life-threatening, they’re still unwanted. An HRV effectively filters out unwanted smells so that you breathe nothing but fresh air.
- Lower Energy Costs: Since an HRV regulates temperature, it optimizes your entire HVAC system. Your heating and cooling equipment will be able to easily and efficiently maintain a comfortable indoor climate. You’ll have reduced energy costs, which means lower utility bills and greater efficiency.
Mechanical Energy Recovery
Inefficiencies in a traditional homes are covered up with large mechanical HVAC systems that are expensive and prone to failure. With smart design and better build quality, our Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes have extremely low energy demands, which save owners money by reducing operating costs.
- Because our mechanical systems utilize multiple energy efficient strategies to heat and cool your Tiny Home.
- Utilizing smaller, compact, and affordable mechanical systems, our Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes provide the highest levels of indoor air quality and comfort.
Quite simply, these units are the lungs of a Tiny House, constantly supplying fresh filtered air to the home.
Our Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes have better indoor air quality and moisture management all while dramatically improving comfort.
If you want to learn more about HRVs or are asking, whats a Home Ventilation System? Click HERE.
The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of the most energy-efficient lighting options on the market. Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting.
LED lights are highly energy efficient compared with other forms of lighting. Residential LEDs, especially ENERGY STAR rated products, use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.
Widespread use of LED lighting has a huge potential impact on energy savings in the United States. That’s why we use them exclusively in our Ultra Energy Efficient Tiny Passive Homes. If your plan is to live off the grid then energy efficient lighting will be a big help.
Solar Power, Generators & Home Battery Systems
Living off grid with your new Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Home means you’ll need to produce your own power. We accomplish this in a few ways.
Each of our Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Homes comes equipped with enough roof mounted solar panels to power your Tiny Home under certain circumstances. You won’t have unlimited power like being on grid but for most day to day things you’ll be covered.
Being able to store power created by your solar panels in the day is important if you want power at night. It’s also a good idea to have a full battery when it’s cloudy or snowing outside since you won’t be producing much power with your panels.
Having a generator on board is important if you need more power than your solar panels are producing or when it cloudy for days. We also include a good size fuel tank. By supplementing solar with a good generator you won’t have to worry about power.
By combining solar panels, a home battery and a generator it’s possible to live completely off grid for extended periods of time without refueling.
Energy Star Appliances
We use high efficiency Energy Star rated appliances or better in all of our Energy Efficient Passive Tiny Homes.
Smart design is important whenever you build a home of any size. What good is all that insulation, solar panels, home battery, generator, LEDs and triple pane glass if you suck up tons of power with the wrong appliances.
We even include smart switches in many of our builds that completely shut an appliances off from even minute amount of power drain.
Multiple Foundation Options
We offer two types of foundations for our Tiny passive Houses.
TINY HOUSES ON TRAILERS
We only use the best trailers on all of our Tiny Passive Houses that are designed to be mobile. If your going to build a house on top of a trailer than using a high quality trailer is essential for durability, longevity and extremely low maintenance.
TINY HOUSES ON A FOUNDATION
Many of our Passive Tiny Houses are built on a permanent foundation such as a crawl space, slab or even a full basement. Permanent installations have some big advantages like access to local power, sewer, gas and water.
What A Passive Tiny House Costs
Send us an e-mail or give us a call to get the process started. We don’t have pre-built Tiny Homes so every house we build is custom. Because of this it takes a bit of back and forth to get an accurate price.
Send us your wish list along with all your ideas and any photos you have of Tiny Houses you love. The more details, sketches and pictures you send, the more accurate the quote will be. We’ll stay in touch during the estimating / design process to get to know you and talk over some of the finer details.
After you receive the quote, have a chance to look it over and decide you’re ready to build with us, a deposit will be required. Deposit amounts vary depending on what we have to build. In the weeks before we start building your Tiny House we’ll have a detailed design meeting or two by phone, or in person and go over every inch of your house with you. As the process moves along changes can be made which may adjust the price. You’ll be shown progress photos and have a chance to comment or ask questions along the way.
We typically book build spots a month or two in advance and a typical Tiny House takes 10-12 weeks to build from the time we start construction.
Our finished tiny homes can be built for anywhere between $80,000 – $200,000+. A few major factors that decide the majority of the costs include:
- The overall design
- Size of your Tiny House
- Finishes, details and customization required
- Amount of options including high end finishes
Each of our Modern Tiny Houses are completely custom so we design them to fit just about any budget. To find out more about our pricing options click HERE.
Because Gambrick is raising constantly expectations of what a Modern Tiny House Builder can and should be. Specializing in Custom Home Building, Contemporary Homes, Energy Efficient Buildings like Passive House and Modern Tiny Houses. With the imperatives of carbon reduction in the fight to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, our desire for energy independence, and our need to have greater building resilience, the meaning and logic of Passive House is clear.
I want to build a new Passive Tiny House – what’s first?
Because building a new home or remodeling an older one can be an overwhelming process. At Gambrick, one of our fundamental objectives is achieving the highest standards of architectural design and construction. Give us a call or e-mail and we’ll guide you through the journey of constructing your new, custom built Passive Tiny House.