Passive House - a high efficiency machine

In 2012, Peter Culley became a Certified Passive House Consultant having taken part in the five day intensive course.

PHIUS, the Passive House Institute, United States, was established to bring the growing PassivHaus initiative, that is rapidly spreading across Europe, back to North America, where the thinking had originally been pioneered in the early 1970s.

Passive House is the most stringent energy consumption-related initiative in the world. The ideology is most easily explained by thinking of a building envelope as an energy efficient and stable device, much like an energy rated kitchen appliance or vehicle. Once the building performs with minimal energy input and resultant waste, consideration can be given to the most suitable forms of energy input. Passive House provides a very effective route towards net zero conditions.

Passive House is not confined to single family domestic situations. In fact, it is now becoming a prevalent practice for schools, offices, gymnasia and performance spaces, as well as for multi-family residential scenarios.

Interestingly, in general the approach does not require new technology approaches to achieve high energy performance, rather relying on design and predictive modeling to ensure compliance.

Spatial Affairs offers all clients the option of taking on Passive House as a formal stage in their projects, but whether or not accreditation is required, the following ‘no-brainer’ checklist is taken forward into every project:

- High thermal performance exterior envelope (insulation in ground floor, exterior walls and roof, high performance windows and doors)
- Attention to detail at all exterior joints to minimize air leakage
- Avoidance of ‘through-envelope’ materials such as steel or concrete that could lead to thermal migration and in wall condensation
- Orientation of windows and skylights to maximize winter warming, minimize summer solar gain, and minimize winter heat loss

Spatial Affairs is currently working on a project in Echo Park that will lead to two of the earliest certified Passive Houses in the Los Angeles region.

For more information on Passive House Institute US, follow this link.