Passive House Projects

Certified Passive House in Eugene, Oregon.

In housing, being passive puts you in the forefront of change. The Passiv Haus movement, inspired by experimental building in North America in the 1970’s, took root in Germany in the early 1990’s. To date, more than 15,000 buildings in Europe have been certified. A Passive House is “passive” because it does not require an active heating system. Instead, you invest in insulation, super-efficient windows and doors, and a tight shell, with the costs recouped by savings on your heating system and a smaller photovoltaic array.

Passive House design uses comprehensive modeling software to tune passive solar heat gains and avoid overheating. It cuts energy used for space heating up to 90%.
A recent surge in interest in the United States, particularly high in our region, indicates that architects and builders are ready to consider Passive House design standards. With our relatively mild winters, the Pacific Northwest is well suited to this building system. It is adaptable for both new construction and retrofit / remodel projects. In a Passive House, you enjoy a modern standard of living with a very low carbon footprint.

Passive House is an integrated set of design principles for lowering energy demand to a practical minimum.
In the Orchard Street Passive House, primary elements include:
•Ultra-low energy use (maximum of 4.75kBtu/sq. ft. per year for space heating)
•Super Insulation (combinations of closed cell and open cell spray foam, cellulose and rigid board insulation for R-85 Roof / R-70 Walls / R-90 Floor)
•Thermal Bridge-Free Construction (double 2×4 wall assembly modeled in THERM 5.2)
•Air Tightness (must achieve maximum 0.6 air changes per hour – 0.60 ACHS – for certification)
•High Performance Windows and Doors (Unilux UltraThermo triple pane, with U-0.12 and SHGC 0.5)
•High Efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilation (Zehnder ComfoAir 350, 84% efficient)

The energy to operate a conventional home far outweighs the initial embodied energy to build it. By putting attention and resources upfront during design and construction, Passive House offers minimal impact. As Katrin Klingenberg, Director of Passive House Institute US states, “In Europe PH is the cheapest way to build when taking life cycle cost into account.”

Click for more information on LEED vs. Passive House

For more information on this project download our flyer: Passive House flyer