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Very Green Homes- Passive House

This is another great article outlining what Passive House is… it even mentions Dan Whitmore’s house in Seattle, the first Passive House currently being constructed in Washington state.

Passive House Arrives in North America: Could It Revolutionize the Way We Build?

Full Story from Environmental Building News

Executive Summary

Originating in Germany twenty years ago and drawing inspiration from the superinsulation and passive solar movements in North America in the late 1970s, Passive House has migrated across the Atlantic. To date, about a dozen buildings have been certified to the Passive House standard in North America, and at least two dozen are in various stages of development. The Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) and its founder and director, German-trained architect Katrin Klingenberg, are leading the implementation of the system in the U.S.

Passive House is a quantitative, performance-based standard for ultra-low-energy buildings—both residential and commercial. The U.S.-based standard, which is virtually identical to the German Passivhaus standard, allows no more than 15 kWh/m2/yr (4,755 Btu/ft2/yr) of energy consumption for heating, the same for cooling, and total energy consumption, including lighting, appliances, and plug loads, of no more than 120 kWh/m2/yr (38,000 Btu/ft2/yr) of primary energy use, which accounts for the energy used in extracting and processing fossil fuels and generating and distribution of electricity. In addition, Passive House standards include a stringent air tightness requirement of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure difference across the envelope.

While energy experts EBN spoke with like the specific targets, some argue that the Passive House standard could be improved in North America by addressing some concerns, including how the standard works in our more diverse climate, the inherent penalty against small buildings, and the difficulty of achieving Passive House performance with existing buildings.