11 October, 2010

Passive House in the Woods

By Christina Winter, Allied Member ASID
I heard about the Passive house or Passivhaus Standard for Energy Efficient Design sometime back in the beginning of my college career.  It was still pretty new to the industry and to my teachers as we were learning together about a new wave of construction that started in Germany in 1988.  Since our environment differs so much from Germany it has taken longer to be able to launch passive houses here in the US.  Recently, The Passive House in the Woods has opened in Hudson, WI and with the opportunity to be able to actually see and touch one of these homes, I took advantage and couldn't wait to learn more.
As my research began, I had many questions I wanted answered and the end result, well it left me enthusiastic, hopeful and even more optimistic then I already am about the future of our environment and architecture.
The following was summarized to really understand what exactly a Passive House is from passivehouse.us:

 The Passive House in the Woods is a residence located in Hudson, WI that was designed to meet the requirements of the Passive House Building energy standard which is currently the tightest energy standard in the world.  It has a promise of reducing the heating energy consumption of buildings by 90%.  A Passive House is a very well insulated and virtually air tight structure.  Passive solar gain and internal gains from people and electrical equipment etc. heat the structure.  Proper window placement and orientation help to avoid heat gain through shading.  Air quality is balanced by an energy recovery ventilator that provides a constant, balanced fresh supply of air.

A Passive House is a comprehensive system.  'Passive' describes the systems underlying receptivity and retention capacity.  Using natural resources, they captured free solar energy and apply it efficiently instead of relying on “active” systems to bring a building to “zero” energy.  Triple glazed windows, super insulation, an airtight building shell, limitation of thermal bridging and balanced energy recovery ventilation make possible the extraordinary reductions in energy use and carbon emissions.

Throughout my research there are four elements that make up a Passive house which are:

  • Super Insulation that is airtight and minimizes thermal bridging
  • Highly Efficient Windows
  • Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery
  • Innovative & Efficient Heating Technology

During the week, join LiLu  Interiors as we discuss each of these elements of passive houses and learn more about the future of our structures.  More information can be found at www.passivehouseinthewoods.com and www.passivehouse.us


Passive House in the Woods Rendering

passive house 1

The Passive House in the Woods
passive house 2
Entrance to The Passive House in the Woods

Please share a comment!