Passive House for All - Keep it Simple


Passive House for All – 21st International Passive House Conference, Vienna, Austria

First, what a great city for a conference. Great architecture from many eras, walkable (6 miles most days), easy transit, and great food and beer. Second, I need to thank the West Penn Sustainable Energy Fund, Passive House of Western PA (PHWPA), and the Green Building Alliance (GBA) for selecting me and my six fellow trainer candidates for Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant training back in September and the further Train The Trainer Training (TTT) in Vienna.

The TTT capped off nearly a week of workshops, conference plenary, breakout and poster sessions, exhibits and tours. We hope to see you at a training session soon; with seven trainers in Western PA, we have several sessions planned and have the ability to add more as demand increases. Since we’re local, we have flexibility to offer different formats and schedules to meet the needs of busy building professionals. Watch for announcements from PHWPA and GBA about courses and opportunities for you to tell us what you want to learn and when.

With the theme of “Passive House for All” the sessions featured projects of all types and sizes, but very few houses. From the worlds tallest Passive House building, the Cornell Tower dormitory in New York, to deep retrofits of high rise office and apartment buildings to schools and grocery stores, it really was for all. The subtitle for the conference was clearly that Passive House is about comfort. Sure the result is a fraction of the energy use of traditional or even “code plus” buildings, by balancing the energy air and vapor flows, we can create great spaces for people and in the process maybe slow down the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

We had the distinct honor and pleasure of having Dr. Wolfgang Fiest, the creator of The Passive House Standard open our TTT class. He reminded us that Passive House works because it is in fact simple and works in harmony with the laws of physics. It is not necessarily easy to accomplish, but with some knowledge and care, it can be done. When done well, using the Passive House principles, we get buildings that are simple to use, have lower life cycle costs, are comfortable, healthy and touch the earth more lightly.

I'll share some impressions and information on the buildings I saw at the tours, sessions and workshops in future installments.

Until then, let me know if you would like more information about building or renovating with Passive House.

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