Monday, November 22, 2010

From Green Extreme to Mainstream:

Passive House Program Gains Momentum in U.S.


November 16, 2010 - Just a few years ago, the first North American Passive House Conference was attended by a handful of passionate adherents trading tips around folding tables in Urbana, Illinois. But this year, with a keynote speech by green energy prophet Amory Lovins, and attended by roughly 350 practitioners from across the country, the 2010 conference, held from November 4 to 7 in Portland, Oregon, helped establish Passive House as a viable force in the green building movement.

“We’ve gone from 15 certified consultants in 2008 to 200 this year,” says U.S. Passive House Institute’s program director Mike Kernagis. “This is the first conference where we’ve really reaped the benefits of having the consultants come back and show their first projects.”

Passive House — known as Passivhaus in Europe — originated 20 years ago in Darmstadt, Germany, under the stewardship of Wolfgang Feist (another keynote speaker at this month’s U.S. conference). In large part, Fiest synthesized the experiments with passive solar and super-insulated buildings in the 1970s and ‘80s into an organized set of principles for making exceptionally efficient buildings. What distinguishes Passive House certification from programs like LEED is that it’s strictly a performance-based system, with stringent benchmarks in only three areas: air infiltration, Btu consumption, and energy use (in kilowatt hours). {read rest}

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