Europeans have lived with high energy costs for a long time, and have a strong pragmatic awareness of the costs associated with heating and cooling buildings. So it may come as no surprise that the leading standard in energy savings comes to us from Germany: The Passive House standard.
It's not a brand - anyone with the knowledge and desire can use these technologies. The advantages are clear: a means to create beautiful, light-filled architecture that is extremely energy efficient, comfortable, affordable, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically versatile.
How energy efficient? Think in terms of an annual 80 to 90 percent savings for heating and cooling. But I would say our clients appreciate all the many other benefits as much as they enjoy the savings and security - simply stated, passivhaus technologies create the highest quality living environments achieved by our species. It's about quality, comfort, value, health, ease, and peace of mind.
We are Certified Passive House Consultants, so our clients have the option of incorporating these advanced design, materials, and methods into their projects. Extremely precise and accurate site- and project-specific thermal computer modeling empowers the design process to fine tune a balanced design solution so efficient, we won't even need to install a traditional furnace!
It sounds too good to be true. But in reality, just the opposite is the case: once one realizes how straightforward and sensible this approach truly is, the way we have been designing and building our buildings suddenly appears to be ludicrous.
Author: Sam Rodell
Sam has been practicing as an award winning architect for over thirty years, and has also built many of his clients' projects. He is currently licensed to practice architecture throughout most of the western United States and Canada, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which expedites registration in other states and provinces. He was the first Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) architect in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.