Lately we have been talking more and more about passive homes and passive home design. Really it's just about building sustainably. However, it still seems that we don't quite understand exactly what it is all about and so today we talk to an expert. Simone Schenkel helps us to demystify!


S3 E44_Banner_Simone

the passive house

simone schenkel helps us to demystify!

the movement is gaining momentum!

Building sustainable housing is a movement that is growing in momentum in Australia and a topic that we are so passionate about. We understand it can be difficult to know where to begin or how to research all of the design elements that go into a passive house, so we are here to help!

in this podcast we are demystifying the passive house

Today Kribashini is chatting with Simone Schenkel from Grun Eco Design. Simone is incredibly passionate about the environment and sustainability and is dedicated to creating homes that are safe, resilient, and unique to the owner's requirements. We are so grateful to have Simone on the show to share all of her amazing and useful tips to consider when designing a passive home.

In this episode, Simone and Kribashini debunk some of the myths associated with passive housing. We talk about energy efficiency, ventilation, passive house principles, and how sustainable homes can still be pretty.

Simone shares how she has worked with over 300 clients in their mission to achieve sustainability within any budget. It's not as expensive as you may think!

Come and join Kribashini and Simone in their conversation about all things sustainability and then check out the Grun Eco Design for ideas and inspiration.


Let us know what you think about this one, won't you? If you'd like to leave us a little review, that would really help us out too... it's so easy to do in the App where you get your podcasts. Thanks in advance! xx

If you have a topic or question you'd like us to cover, contact us here.


  • [1:44]: Simone shares her journey to creating Grun Eco Design, how she has incorporated sustainability into her architecture, and how building in Australia has differed from building in Germany.

  • [4:27]: Simone discusses her process to create an energy efficient and sustainable home. She helps people to go as far as they can within their budget to achieve sustainability.

  • [6:29]: Just because you have a specialty or complete a degree in a certain area, doesn't mean you can't specialise in a niche area.

  • [6:52]: A common myth is that a sustainable home is not pretty. Simone shares how her smart designs work with any type of housing. Quality over quantity.

  • [9:44]: Another myth is that a passive house can't open the windows. Simone debunks this myth and says you can open your windows as much as you want, you just don't have to. Mechanical heat ventilation creates a constant cross ventilation, ensuring that there is always fresh air in the house.

  • [11:30]: The passive house principles are: highly energy-efficient insulation, high performing windows with thermal breaks, mechanical heat ventilation, heat recovery system, and avoidance of thermal creatures.

  • [14:19]: Simone shares how a passive home feels. There will be open passive houses you can visit on Sustainable House Day in October. Check it out!

  • [15:36]: Aluminium window frames are the worst conductor in the world. Even if you have the best double glazed window, the performance is still very poor. So you need to have an insulation layer in between the aluminium that stops the heat traveling between inside and outside.

  • [18:05]: The passive house standard is a fabric first approach. It really looks at the performance of the house.

  • [19:41]: The cost of a passive house really depends on who you work with in the industry and where you build. Simone has some projects that sit on the $3,500 per square metre. As a generic rule, if you have a 4 bedroom house with two living areas, the house price could sit between $700,000 and $900,000.

  • [21:57]: Building a passive house can be quite challenging and daunting as a builder. If you go with a prefabricated or semi-prefabricated system there is less room for error.

  • [22:45]: Passive house principles are all about orientation, ventilation, airtightness and reducing heat gain and heat loss.

  • [24:49]: With the passive house standard, you have complete control, and what you design is what you get. If you have your house certified, there is an independent certifier scrutinising everything.

  • [26:24]: One of the first PassiveHaus projects in Germany in 1990 is still performing as per the calculations and is still being monitored.


We have several Facebook Groups at BuildHer Collective.


This group is for members only - BuildHers and  DevelopHers. This is a closed group for women who are doing our Build Like a BuildHer program or who have joined our DevelopHers Masterclass.


Anyone is more than welcome to join our Women who Design, Decorate, Renovate & Build group. You will note that it's a closed group. Just ask to join and if you're into building and renovating.

This is such an amazing and supportive FREE community, so come on and join in the building goodness!