May 17, 2017

New England Forges Ahead: Passive House Buildings

PHNE_Cover_FinalWhen advocating for Passive House buildings it’s often not very convincing to point to successful projects in other countries.   People understandably want to see local professionals working successfully with local builders and local owners. Local examples of Passive House building are critical to achieving popular acceptance.

Consequently, 475 is happy to support the recent publication of Passive House Buildings: New England Forges Ahead which showcases 50 projects located across New England.   Published by Low Carbon Productions and organized by the regional Passive House associations Passive House Massachusetts (PHMA), Passivhaus MAINE (PHME), Vermont Passive House (VTPH) and Connecticut Passive House (CTPH).  In the books forward they note:

We showcase the pioneering work of New England Passive House enthusiasts in their first decade of innovation.  They blazed a trail beginning with a few homes that led to the more recent Passive House apartments, schools, and mixed-use buildings.  These buildings are beacons lighting our way forward.

The beacons also reflect the warm glow of a tight but fast growing community of professionals that appreciate the need to share knowledge and welcome and encourage newcomers.   In fact for us it feels like a family photo album – so many familiar names, faces and projects…so many great stories.

Of course we’ve supplied lots of materials and components to countless projects – airtightness and moisture protection by Pro Clima, ventilation system by Lunos, skylights by Fakro and Lamilux and wood fiberboard insulation by GUTEX – but what we enjoy and appreciate are the details, the communication, the site visits and trainings, that allow us to participate in this vibrant community.

Jesper Kruse of Passive House Maine, expresses a sentiment shared by many Passive House advocates:

Once I heard 80-90 percent reduction in heating energy consumption, what is there to talk about after that?  It is so obvious Passive House is where we need to be headed.  I have children.  I know about climate change.

With designed and built schools, multifamily developments and single family homes, this book shows Passive House in service to the local character.  Leonard Wyeth, a founder of CTPH writes:

As New Englanders, we have a reputation of being Yankees.  Politely described as frugal, we don’t like spending money on oil, gas, and electricity. When you come right down to it, we’re thrifty and we’re practical.   In Connecticut’s climate, comfort usually comes at a high cost.  Warm in winter and cool in summer usually requires a lot of energy. That’s our problem: we can’t be both comfortable and thrifty….Or can we?

Yes, we can. And clearly New England Yankees can do it, and are doing it in a convincing manner.   Congrats!

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