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Passive House News - December 2017

Passive House News - December Edition

One of the great things about working in a building science that’s transforming the built world, is that we get to see regular and heartening advances in resilient and energy efficient architecture.  These Passive House news links are how we get to share some of what we come across as insiders of this building revolution.

We present these links for the enjoyment of continuous learning.  The landscape of our built environment is rapidly changing, and there’s much to learn from worldwide efforts to build-a-better building:

  • better because resilience and energy efficiency are partners.
  • better because your health and the quality of the air you breathe are related and matter.
  • better because we keep learning and developing our craft, especially as innovation evolves it.

We hope you enjoy this bevy of links.

It’s Late December - Passive House Gift Ideas!

You know someone who loves to learn, and building science is captivating.  

We present a couple of last minute yet awesome book options.

Passive House Details, by Donald B. Corner, Jan C. Fillinger, and Alison G. Kwok.  Interest in Architectural details is enjoying a recent resurgence (well deserved), and as anyone involved in Passive House will tell you, the details quite literally make or break a successful series of certification tests.  This book represents the best work we’ve seen that helps people understand successful Passive House building envelopes, and is quickly being adapted into Architecture curriculum. They give you a guided tour of what makes these amazing structures work so that you can actually see what a better building looks likes.  On top of that, an Artisans Group home (Island House) is a featured case study!

Midori Haus - Written by Chie Kawahara, this wonderful book is a first hand account of the journey one couple took in purchasing a 1920s Arts & Crafts bungalow and updating it with a complete Passive House certified retrofit.  Both practical and insightful, this book stands out for presenting a whole process and its results, from cover-to-cover.  And the end result is beautiful.  That wasn’t a spoiler.

Passive House News

Phoenix Haus Artisans Group

For you:  months of time saved, an Artisans Group designed Passive House, Phoenix Haus prefabricated foam free wall and roof systems - available throughout the United States.  For our Pacific Northwest neighbours, you also get our experienced and award winning Passive House construction crew to build it.

  • As a refresher on the incredible benefits of Passive House, Erase40 does a clear and succinct job of breaking down the real-world benefits of this building science into straight forward benefits for both your present self, and the future you.  
  • Check out the NanuQ, a sailboat designed and built “to sail in the polar region and withstand arctic winter in a self-sufficient mode, using only renewable energies (sun, wind, environmental heat)”.  The NanuQ and its crew are preparing for the July, 2018 Polar Quest.  


Nanuq on Vimeo.

We’ve written before about the Fram, a Norwegian exploration ship that is, by most accounts, the first Passive House.  Well, the NanuQ has some pretty nice upgrades on the Fram, and we highly encourage Lloyd Alter’s article, Passive House isn’t just for buildings; it works for boats to.  For further reading, the NanuQ crew is public about the NanuQ.  And in case you’re thinking to yourself, “no way that actually works,” they test ran a winter caught in Greenland’s ice!

  • Still in New York City, they’re moving forward with an affordable Passive House senior home (not without controversy).

Speaking of multifamily Passive House buildings...

Canada has resolutely put itself at the bleeding edge of the Passive House revolution.  Their advice columnists even point people to study Passive House.  Vancouver has a civic portal dedicated to PH.  We can do this, it's not a fantasy.

As a company with 20 years of roots in Pacific Northwest residential remodels, we see the long term potential of updating a home to look better and feel better and have better indoor air quality and save massive amounts of energy - a Passive House retrofit makes great long term sense for some of our region's beautiful historic homes.

  • On the other side of Earth, Australia’s Monash University announced a new Passive House student housing effort.  Cornell’s energy is contagious.  

We can do this to, Pacific Northwest!  University of Washington, Evergreen, Washington State, Whitman, Gonzaga, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Whitworth, Seattle University, Saint Martin’s University, Portland State, et. al.!  

Passive House buildings perform significantly better in real world energy efficiency and resiliency, they feel better to be inside of (low humidity, fresh air, stable and comfortable indoor temperature, quiet, etc.) Let’s actually show the next generation what a better-built-future feels like, it really is good to care about our future.

Since we’re back in the United States -   

  • Plattform - a new Pittsburgh group of “vertical homes” is under review and looks set to be built in 2018.
  • A new home in Amsterdam makes the architecture news and is a great example of how more and more homes incorporate aspects of Passive House, even if they don’t go all the way.  Progress accrues incrementally.

We design and build Passive Houses because we want to make a real difference for our clients.  It’s a verifiable system of energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and consistent comfortable temperatures.

We want Green Home design and construction to mean you get the best available building science to support your whole home health.

  • New Manhattan Passive House rentals.  Seattle and Portland are probably able to support a higher end project like this.  In luxury home construction, Passive House design and construction represents a smaller percentage of overall cost, because...really nice windows offer beautiful views. The health benefits of superior Indoor Air Quality, the accumulating savings of energy, and the silence in the middle of a busy just makes sense. People want a better home and better buildings, and Passive House is.
  • PHIUS is publishing comparison studies of expected vs. actual energy usage in certified Passive Houses.  This is more of why the Passive House community is so heartening; we’re using what we all learn, and we’re getting better because we're communicating the data.

(for fun)

And that’s a wrap.  Thanks for learning along with us, everyone.  We appreciate your interest in designing and building better; it's worth it to consider more, and it's definitely worth the hard work of improvement.

The Artisans Group