Fall 2018 Editorial

As Trump continues to gut environmental policies and Trudeau supports massive new oil pipelines to carry tar sands crude, at least we can take heart from the locales that are incentivizing or requiring Passive House performance.


Welcome to spring and the promise of new growth. Here at Passive House Buildings we are elated to have Alicia Dolce as our new marketing manager. She brings a wealth of experience with the...

Spreading the Word

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step into the role of marketing manager for Passive House Buildings. My introduction to Passive House started a little more than five years ago, when the...

Industrializing Deep Energy Retrofits

Not all retrofits can be accomplished in one go, as the PHI recognized when it created a certification for phased retrofits, or EnerPHit projects. Deep energy retrofits of existing structures are an absolute must...

New York’s Path to Scaling Up Passive House

The proliferation of Passive House buildings in New York today arose within the context of increasing recognition of the seriousness of climate change—and of adopting new policies or regulations that respond to this serious...

Stress Testing for a Changing Climate

Last August, Harding Heights, a Passive House multifamily building designed for seniors, opened its doors in Smithers, British Columbia. Although Smithers is located pretty far north, almost immediately the residents started complaining about overheating,...

Prefabricated and Factory Built

With demand for Passive House-quality panels and modules on the rise, the factories producing these goods are expanding in number, capacity, and production. Most are new businesses producing Passive House-performance exterior wall, floor, and...

Expanding a Mission

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) works to provide housing solutions for seniors, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special needs. Since its inception in 1972, PHFA has managed more than $14.1 billion...

Optimizing the Prefab Design Process

A large screened-in porch juts off the south side of this two-story house, providing the perfect venue for relaxation. Extending the slope of the home’s roof, the porch’s roofline gracefully sweeps west out across...

Delphi Haus Universal Design in Washington

Nestled in the rolling terrain of the Pacific Northwest’s Black Hills on the outskirts of Olympia, Washington, Delphi Haus artfully marries Passive House and universal design in a beautiful single-story modern home. Surrounded by...

Historic Philadelphia EnerPHit

The older a building, the tougher it may be to successfully renovate it to Passive House standards. It’s not uncommon to encounter mold, substandard foundations, and failed building materials. Various remodels over the years...

Washington Heights Multifamily Passive Building

It is said that there are no coincidences. Such is the case with 577 West 161st Street in Washington Heights, New York. The initial six-story project, which was originally permitted by a physician, consisted...

Artists’ Residence in Stonington

Passive House was an unknown concept to the two visual artists who approached Leonard Wyeth, principal of Wyeth Architects LLC, seeking a new house with a pair of studios for their property in Stonington,...

Ecological Home in Dorval

The right tools can make such a difference. Lucie Langlois, principal of Alias Architecture in Quebec, is finding that SketchUp and DesignPH are helping to streamline the design process for her second certified single-family...

Berkeley Passive Houses

Berkeley Passive Houses Photos and drawing by Ian MacLeod Certified Passive House buildings are not yet a trend in the San Francisco Bay, despite the region’s tendency to embrace techy innovations. This slow uptake...

Addressing Embodied Energy with Mass Timber

Passive House design and energy modeling with the PHPP allows architects to focus very specifically on a building’s operational energy use. Whether it is the windows and components, installation details and thermal bridges, or...

Measuring a Healthy Home

I’m trained in engineering and have worked either developing or selling test and measurement (T&M) equipment for the last 30 years. Not just any T&M products—only those associated with building performance and heating, ventilation,...

B.C.’s Energy Step Code: Driving Market Transformation

In 2017, British Columbia introduced the B.C. Energy Step Code—what might be North America’s most innovative beyond-code standard for energy efficiency.

Connecticut Reaffirms Passive Affordable Housing

Passive affordable housing might have been the exception to the rule, except for a relentless outreach campaign initiated by Tim McDonald, principal of Onion Flats.

North American Passive House Window Study

In 2017, the Fenestration Association of British Columbia decided to fund a project to help Canadian window manufacturers increase their share of the growing demand for Passive House windows.

Ventilation Options Expanding

High-performance ventilation choices expanded rapidly in 2018 with new products targeted specifically for airtight, efficient Passive House buildings.

Scalable, Efficient Retrofit Solutions

NYSERDA awarded the first six Energiesprong-style retrofits, aiming to create standardized, scalable, deep energy-efficient retrofit solutions.

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre Passive Housing

Designed to bring affordability and community spirit to a small city on Vancouver Island’s east coast, Nuutsumuut Lelum provides 25 affordable suites for youth, elders, and families in three two-story Passive House buildings.

Chicago’s (and Illinois’) First EnerPHIT

When Mike Conners of Kenwood Construction Services, Incorporated, bought a foreclosed house in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, it was in pretty bad shape—and now it’s a net zero building.

Sol Lux Alpha—Carbon-Neutral Nanogrid

Sol Lux Alpha is the first Passive House certified multiunit nanogrid development in the United States. A nanogrid is a self-contained energy system that is islandable from the grid.

Waynflete Lower School

The new 23,000-ft2 Waynflete Lower School facility, designed and built to meet the Passive House standard, opened its doors this past August.

Cold Climate Passive Auto Dealership

In chilly Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, where the winter design temperature is –29°C (–20°F), constructing any type of Passive House building is a challenge.

The Carrick Library

Carrick will be North America’s first Passive House-certified library.

Wood Innovation Research Lab

The Masters of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design program at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) equips design and construction professionals with the knowledge needed to apply wood use, building science, and sustainable-...

Passive House Under the Radar

On the gradient between splashy and subtle Passive House projects, Blackstone Apartments, a 19-unit affordable housing development in Portland, Maine, falls so far toward the subtle end as to fall off the graph completely.