Our Own Passive House Consultant

We received notice yesterday of news we’ve longed to hear… our  lead building designer, Tessa Smith, passed her grueling exams to achieve status as a certified Passive House consultant! Tessa is one of fewer than 300 certified Passive House Consultant in the United States. Tessa has been with The Artisans Group for 4 years; she’s been consistently producing award-winning remodel and new construction designs for us.  Her designs speak for themselves. Tessa has a deep background in sustainable design, and is very much a part of the new generation of designers that are un-paving the path to smarter homes and healthier living. Congratulations Tessa!

Do you know what Passive House standards are?

I’ve written several posts on  Passive House standards, but to refresh your memories, these are a set of rigorous building standards that exceed any other standards in the industry to date. The original work is from the Passivhaus Institute in Germany; these standards are born of  modeling complex building science assemblies and being able to consistently measure results. The punch line of a Passive House is that it doesn’t require auxiliary heating equipment. Essentially, the structure is super insulated, air infiltration is critically addressed, and orientation of glazing is precise… all creating a home that is capable of retaining the heat that is generated with in by the occupants or appliances! The details are a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the nut of it there.

Though the Passive House standards sounds radical and expensive, the truth is that the building industry has really stepped up to the plate combined with stiff competition in the market place, and the elements that made homes of this nature expensive in the past are starting to become mainstream and affordable. Although it would be cool if all houses were built to these standards, it’s important to note that it’s not necessary in order to achieve an energy efficient home. There are many options to consider, and it doesn’t require extreme selections to end up with a home that is comfortable, energy efficient and healthy.

In any case, Kudos to Tessa. We are tremendously proud of her and continue to marvel at her creative capacity and commitment to sustainable design and wise-resource use. She’s one to watch!

Posted on January 09, 2010

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