Passive House - energy efficiency
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 13:03:37 -0700 (PDT)
In her message "Lancaster update, and ..."
On 19 Aug 2011 Fiona Frank wrote:

> Lancaster Cohousing is building 34 passivhaus houses and a common house at
> Forge Bank on the banks of the Lune River 3 miles outside of the small north
> western UK city of Lancaster

"passivhaus houses" caught my attention since in recent months I have become
interested in this very high standard or energy efficiency. In the US
the phrase "passive house" is used widely instead but this term is
easily confused with the term passive solar building design.  The two
terms are different.  To further confuse things passive house designs
often incorporate passive solar.

The passive house standard was mentioned briefly on cohousing-L previously
but warrants more coverage.  IMHO any new construction should take the
standard into consideration.

Excerpt from

 The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to the rigorous,
 voluntary, Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency in a building,
 reducing its ecological footprint.  It results in ultra-low energy
 buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Key to achiving the standard is super insulation and a very carefully
and tightly constructed thermal envelope.

This and other features result in a conventional central heating
system is not being necessary.  A typical statement is that a passive
house can be heated with the equivalent of a hair dryer.

Passive houses are up to 14% more expensive upfront than conventional
buildings but this is quickly recouped from energy use savings.

Retrofitting a house to meet passive house standardds is possible but
much more difficult than with new construction.

We had a passive house architect evaluate our house and concluded with
him that it is not reasonable to retrofit our house to the standard.


Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
     Email:        fholson at      612-588-9532
My Link Pg:         My org:
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