Monday, September 29, 2014

The 'Passive House' Path to Extreme Energy Efficiency

by Sheri Koones Sep 27th 2014 10:18AM

Updated Sep 28th 2014 2:53PM

The G•O Logic Home was the first Passive House to be built in Maine and was among the first constructed in the United States.

With the growing cost of fuel, increasingly stringent home construction codes, and scientific evidence that we must reduce CO2 emissions, many architects, builders and homeowners are turning to "Passive House" or "Passivhaus" specifications to design and build their new homes. Buildings consume approximately 48 percent of the energy used in this country. Passive Houses use 80 to 90 percent less energy to heat and cool.

Demand has increased, in the United States and various countries around the world, to build not only new homes using these Passive House, or PH, specifications but also for commercial structures, schools and for remodeled homes. The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early

1990s by Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany, and the first dwellings to be completed to the Passivhaus Standard were constructed in Darmstadt in 1991.

There are currently 30,000 Passive House structures built around the world, including in the United States. The first PH in the U.S. was built in Urbana, Illinois, in 2003 by Katrin Klingenberg, the founder of the PH Institute in the United States. According to the PH website, "The Passivhaus standards' strengths lie in the simplicity of its approach; build a house that has an excellent thermal performance, exceptional airtightness with mechanical ventilation!

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