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Undecided with Matt Ferrell


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science

Resource Type

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 9 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, Europe


YouTube Video

Exploring Passive House Design - 90% Energy Savings!

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  • This video introduces the concept of passive homes, which consume far less energy than typical homes.
  • Students will learn about the main design features, certification requirements, cost considerations, energy savings, and climate benefits of passive homes. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video is engaging and uses many visuals to keep students interested in the complex topics. 
  • The video also shows how passive homes can go a step further to become Net Zero, meaning they produce as much or more energy than they consume.

Additional Prerequisites

  • An ad plays before the video begins and there is sponsored content (at 7 minutes, 45 seconds until 8 minutes, 32 seconds) in the middle of the video.
  • Before watching, students should have an understanding of energy consumption at the household level.


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with engineering, economics, and social studies classes regarding the different aspects of passive home design, costs, and benefits. 
  • This video lends itself well to group work, where students can be assigned to one of the five major pillars of passive home design to further research: insulation, avoiding thermal bridges, optimal orientation, being airtight, and ventilation.
  • Although this resource discusses new home construction, there are many ways to increase the efficiency of existing homes that students could research, such as using efficient appliances, adding insulation, using window shades and fans, adding solar-tube lights, and other low-cost solutions.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this hands on project about a solar house, this video about daylighting, and this article about how our individual and household actions can fight climate change.
Scientist Notes
The resource evaluates building designs and compares energy use from passive houses, leaky houses, and modern homes. It explores the importance of saving energy cost, improving thermal comfort and limiting CO2 levels if energy-efficient buildings are upscaled. This is very vital, factual, and recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS3: Energy
      • HS-PS3-4. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics).
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