The Rise of the Passive House [The Tyee]

Passive House is an increasingly popular low-energy standard.  Passive Houses must be airtight (0.60 ACH at 50 Pascals) and low energy (4.75 kBTU/ft2/year max heating and cooling demand and 38 kBTU/ft2/year maximum primary demand) — requirements that slash energy demand by about 90%.  Due to increasing popularity of Passive House, media mentions like this mini-series in The Tyee — are becoming more common.

(1)  Step in the Real Home of the Future: Passivhaus
(2)  In Snowy Whistler, a House with No Furnace
(3)  Low Energy Homes Mean Thousands of Jobs

In this series, Monte Paulsen explains that the Saskatchewan Conservation House (circa 1977) was an inspiration for what eventually became Passivhaus.  Unfortunately, the old house gained a garage and lost the solar thermal system.  And the current owner, when asked, didn’t seem to know much about the home’s history.

After the Conservation House was built, according to Paulsen, nothing much happened with energy-efficient construction techniques until recently.

Meanwhile, general adoption of Passivhaus in Germany and Europe has led to the creation of tons of jobs.  They’ve had something like a 15-year head start and the best windows come from overseas.  So there’s a lot of history behind the rise of the Passivehaus/Passive House.  Perhaps there’s a lot of history to be made, too.

Credit: Amanda Nelson Photography & Design 2010 – this is the Breezeway House in SLC, the first Passive House in the state of Utah.

  • Guest

    thanks for a very good article :-)

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  • GHDavies

    The Passivhaus concept has been slow to catch on in the UK, but now we have this from a company building homes for low income families – Gareth Huw Davies

  • Seth Neal

    go go gadget Passivhaus! Preston, love that you are doing more and more features on this great standard. Passive House is an important part of a greener future!

  • Edz3

    Great article. I love the concept of the passive house and would love to see more. I’m intersted in the mecahcnail aspect of this design. Considering the extremely tight building envelope, the cost of a fresh air system and/or HRV is something that most standard homes do not have.

    Post more passive house aticles (with details)!

  • Anonymous

    Seems like, Passive House is about insulating the inside of the house from the outside, and controlling ventilation, which I thought was what existing building standards did! But I guess not. That emperor has no clothes! Existing practices are a joke! I mean, 10% of the usual KWh for HVAC? Thank you Germany and Passive House! If it’s not Passive House, it’s crap! Everything else is obsolete!

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