The Journal
High Performance Passivhaus
Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - 400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture
400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture

Imagine you are considering the purchase of a new car that gets 40 miles to the gallon... when you learn about a similarly priced high performance alternative that is far better built, looks great, and runs 200 to 400 miles to the gallon, depending on your driving habits. It uses some German parts...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Passive House at a Glance
Passive House at a Glance

The term 'passive' in the context of passive house refers to the reduction or elimination of 'active' mechanical systems. There are many compelling reasons why this is a more intelligent and responsible way to build. Here is a quick list of benefits - in no particular order:- Increased comfort.- I...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth Architecture
Rammed Earth Architecture

It comes as a surprise to many people to see an architect working in the Pacific Northwest designing and building with rammed earth, which is generally associated with very arid, hot climates and low tech, indigenous building traditions. I became interested in working with rammed earth as an unexpe...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Breathing Clean Indoor Air
Breathing Clean Indoor Air

Optimum interior air quality has become an increasingly prominent concern in our work. Passive house interior air quality is pristine because highly filtered fresh air is constantly being exchanged with the interior air. The passive house standard requires filtration systems that achieve a MERV (Min...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Carbon  Neutral Architecture
Carbon Neutral Architecture

The built environment is responsible for three fourths of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: buildings alone account for 39 percent.  Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. The American Institute of A...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends
High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends

Once we have a conceptual design solution that has been approved by a client, we typically provide them with a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of building to the passivhaus level of quality as opposed to simply building to current code minimums. "By building to passive house quality in...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Advanced Design Technologies
Advanced Design Technologies

We design using cutting edge tools and technologies to create - truly - the highest quality environments for human habitation in the history of our species.  It's far beyond the incorporation of high technology in components of the buildings... the buildings themselves are technologic...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - HERS Index:  The Home Energy Rating System
HERS Index: The Home Energy Rating System

 The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured.   HERS scores are designed for new homes (or homes after a complete renovation). When builders need to meet efficiency standards, they use the HERS Index, which has...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Architecture and Water Vapor
Architecture and Water Vapor

  Water is one of the most powerful forces of nature, and one of the primary variables determining the durability and performance of buildings. Depending on the climate, regional building design responds directly to rain, snow, and ice, but another powerful form in which water interacts ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems
The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems

“Environmental control systems tend to be treated rather like the Cinderella of architecture; given only the plainest clothes to wear, they are relegated to a back room to do the drudgery that maintains the elegant lifestyle of the other sisters: light, form, structure, and so forth." ~ Lisa Hesch...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - NOT Passive Solar
NOT Passive Solar

One of the most common misunderstandings we see about our high performance architecture is that we are preoccupied with passive solar design - which is actually something we don't have any particular interest in.  It's easy to see why this confusion happens: Passive House (or Passivhau...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Shading Data - No Guesses
Shading Data - No Guesses

One of the many aspects of site specific architectural design now standard practice in our pre-design research process is to acquire a forensic understanding of the shading conditions that will alter how our architecture will be exposed to the sun over the course of each year.Designing high perfor...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Passive House Northwest
Passive House Northwest

Sam Rodell Architects is featured prominently in the recently published book Passive House Northwest 2016, including several projects recently completed and currently underway and a brief overview of the firm:   "The work of Sam Rodell Architects is characterized primarily by thoughtful ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Triple Glazed Window Benefits
Triple Glazed Window Benefits

Triple glazed windows are the new stars of window energy efficiency... but why should you care?  Comfort. Comfort is the reason you will want to use triple glazed windows. Before we get too far on why you should be excited about energy efficiency and comfort, here is a brief history of US windo...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Why We Build Airtight Architecture
Why We Build Airtight Architecture

Passive House architecture: Healthy, comfortable places to live and work that use a fraction of the energy of mainstream construction. Many people presume this must be all about insulating really well, and while that is important, the amazing performance of a Passive House project actually begins wi...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Saving More With Commercial Passivhaus
Saving More With Commercial Passivhaus

The savings to be realized by Passivhaus architecture are exponentially increased when we build institutional and commercial projects. We are pleased to have one of the most experienced commercial/institutional Passivhaus architects in the world on our design team. Adam Cohen brings thirty years o...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Your Home or Office Can Power Your Car
Your Home or Office Can Power Your Car

Passive House: Designing and building buildings so well for a specific site and climate we can eliminate eighty to ninety percent of the energy demands of space heating, cooling, and humidity control. This is fully achievable and affordable today, using readily available technologies and materials. ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Effortlessly Increase Your Disposable Income
Effortlessly Increase Your Disposable Income

Does it seem like you just paid all the monthly bills... but it's time to do it all again? Whether you are running a business or a household, all those little piles of cash flowing out the door every month add up.The utilities are costing more every year, and the the cost of energy is likely to incr...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - The Intelligent Choice
The Intelligent Choice

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...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - The First Step to Net Zero Energy
The First Step to Net Zero Energy

A 'net-zero energy' building generates more energy than it needs. The most important item in Net-Zero design is reducing the demand for energy. This is the main principle behind the Passive House concept, so it should be a natural progression for architects designing to the passive house standard to...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Getting Off Oil - With Architecture
Getting Off Oil - With Architecture

It is no secret that our dependence on oil reaches into every aspect of modern life. This must change - actually, will change, whether we like it or not. Not only are we wreaking environmental havoc burning fossil fuels, it is certain the costs will continue to dramatically rise, impacting every cor...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Optimizing Walls for Energy Performance
Optimizing Walls for Energy Performance

We assign a very high priority to comfort in buildings - specifically, thermal comfort. One of the basic distinctions between being inside' and 'outside' is that when we are inside, we expect to be comfortable. We essentially live in two climates - interior and exterior - and the construction assemb...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - All Around Us, Obsolete New Buildings.
All Around Us, Obsolete New Buildings.

Because they use such exorbitant quantities of energy, new buildings built to code are actually going to be obsolete from day one of occupancy.  "Built to code is a euphemism for built to the lowest legally permissible standard." ~ Sam Rodell Most buildings currentl...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Phase Change Materials
Phase Change Materials

Putting Nature's Magic to Work For Us: Phase Change Materials We see it all around us, all the time; temperature changes make stuff freeze, melt, or vaporize. These 'phase change' transformations, in which molecules change from one state of matter to another, are so common we take them for grante...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Zero Net Energy Owners Speak Out
Zero Net Energy Owners Speak Out

A Zero Net Energy Home produces as much energy as it consumes, resulting in zero net energy bills and zero net carbon emissions. But the story does not end there. Zero Energy Homes have many other advantages over standard homes and so-called 'green' homes. They are very quiet, they provide f...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Lessons From Being a Developer
Lessons From Being a Developer

Becoming licensed as an architect is a long, challenging process, but that is just the first step toward becoming an Architect, which is a lifelong journey. In my particular case, it has included decades of experience as a general contractor, building our designs for our clients... as well as becomi...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Responsibility and Gratitude
Responsibility and Gratitude

"Our life work is built on a foundation of reverence, responsibility, and gratitude."  ~ Sam Rodell Imagine building a scale model of the earth 75 yards in diameter. The biosphere in this model would be roughly the thickness of the skin of a tomato. It is here, between earth and sky, where t...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Designing with Thermal Analysis Tools
Designing with Thermal Analysis Tools

Our buildings are designed to isolate the interior climate from the exterior climate, which means we need to consider every way energy moves between the interior and exterior, including the roofs, walls, floors, doors, windows... literally every square inch of the places where heated or cooled spa...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Evolution to Rainscreen
Evolution to Rainscreen

Effective long term management of water, in vapor, liquid, and solid form, is crucial to building durability, comfort, health, and safety. Much has been learned in recent years in the building science field about the behavior of water in building assemblies. This film looks at the history of the w...