The Best Home Plan in Light of the Retirement Years

by Cody Farmer

We’re all headed towards retirement…someday. Because of that fact, everyone seems to have a piece of advice for us regarding our “golden years”. Financial gurus are always advising people in their 20s and 30s to begin to think of retirement now so that you can save up a “nest egg” for those non-working years ahead. Health experts give all kinds of advice on how to care for your body starting early on to give your later aging body a chance at a healthy quality of life. Lawyers advise us to write hospital/hospice directives regarding our care if we are unable to voice our wants at any time, and they also tell us we need to write a will and keep it up to date for the sake of our children or spouse when we’re gone. Like I said EVERYONE seems to have advice on retirement. What I haven’t heard expressed often enough is the need to advise you (and myself) on the importance of proper housing during those retirement years. Have you thought about the best place to live during retirement?

 

Whenever I think forward to those years, my first thought is that I will do everything in my power to remain healthy and independent for as long as I can. My second thought is I will do everything in my power to make sure I am financially able to care for myself so that I’m not a burden on others. Now, while I’m sure my children will be happy to help out during those years, I’d still like to reach those goals so that their required amount of help is minimal. Wouldn’t you agree?

In keeping with those goals, I’m going to live in a Passive House certified home because I genuinely believe it is the best type of home to spend my retirement years. I know, I know…you’re probably thinking I’m a bit biased, but I have legitimate reasons (besides the fact that it’s what I do for a living), so please hear me out:

  1. Passive House utility costs are low…sometimes nonexistent. They. Are. So. Low. The house you’re looking at in all of these beautiful photos is the first home we built with the Passive House design back in 2012 called “Passivista” – named thusly by the owners, Ken and Harlene Beckloff of Broomfield, CO. They, too, were interested in the financial benefits made possible by a Passive House design. The payoff they saw came in 2 ways:
    1. The first of which was the ability to make this peak performance house within their initial budget range of $250,000 - $325,000. Just in case you don’t keep up on current housing costs, that is actually the equivalent of what you can expect to spend for most homes of this size, which is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 car garage home. Using a number of cost-saving strategies while still keeping the same quality we expect of all of our passive house buildings, we were able to stick to this budget. As you can imagine, this made the Beckloffs very happy.
    2. Secondly, we were pleased to hear from them regarding their average utility costs of the 3,600 SQFT Passive House consisting of gas and electric. For the Beckloffs, these 2 bills combined only come to approximately $50 per month! While many retired people pinch pennies to live on their fixed incomes by turning down the thermostat, Harlene says “she feels spoiled having a warm house all winter and such low bills.”

  2. Reduced danger during an energy black-out. While some sons and daughters will need to scramble to their aging parent’s houses quickly during any kind of power outage to ensure their parents don’t freeze or roast (depending on the season), this couple’s children can rest in the knowledge that since a passive house experiences very little temperature loss, their parents will remain in livable temperatures for 3 days or more before needing help. Since most power outages are normally resolved in less time than that, it’s likely that the Beckloffs won’t need anyone to rescue them in an outage. That means independence for them and peace of mind for their children.
  3. Healthy air. You’ve often heard the phrase “You are what you eat.” But scientists and doctors are now discovering that it is also true that “You are what you breathe.” In fact, any type of ingestion – whether it be air, food, drink, or skin products – affects our health in so many ways…even in ways you don’t see immediately. That’s another reason why the passive house model is such an important step to make when planning your retirement – it keeps you healthier than any other building would! After this build was completed, a Certified Passive House Rater conducted all the insulation inspections, blower door testing, and HERs (Home Energy Rating system) score. With a final blower door of 0.23 Air Changes per Hour at 50 pascals (ACH 50), Passivista is one of the tightest known homes in the United States. Energy Star homes measure 3.0 ACH 50, whereas the average home is very leaky at 5.0 ACH 50. With this low level of air leakage combined with the filtered Zehnder HRV (heat recovery ventilator) unit, the air coming in is cleaner and retains its comfortability level in the home.

Healthy, comfortable air in an affordable home with a huge monthly utility cost savings certainly seems like a great way to live out the remainder of my days! How about you? If you’d like to find out if this kind of home is doable for you, CLICK HERE to inquire with no obligation to buy.