STUDIO-E shows there's more to green building than just saving energy

© Studio E/ Mike Dean Photography

Houses designed to the tough Passive House standard have a reputation for being boxy, since every corner is a thermal bridge problem, and for not having a lot of windows, since even the best windows have greater heat loss and gain than a wall, and they are really expensive.

Greensource Magazine shows a house by Jan Fillinger of STUDIO-E architecture that puts paid to these misconceptions; It is not a simple box and it has a LOT of glass. He tells David Sokol:

“I fell in love with the Passive House approach the moment I learned about it, because it is the most effective way I have ever encountered to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency,” Fillinger says. “[Passive House Institute U.S.] also has a modeling system that allows you to fine-tune systems and assemblies to that sweet spot where you get the most bang for the dollar spent.”

© STUDIO E/ Mike Dean Photography

The Passive House certification is all about energy; and doesn't have anything much to say about other aspects of green building; even the heat recovery ventilator is there primarily to control heat loss rather than out of any concern for building a healthy home. But that is a very nice side effect; the architect notes:

“These are tight homes that often have a lot of human-made materials, which are not necessarily in their virgin state. We still don’t know everything about VOCs and toxic products. Even when we use what are touted as low-VOC products, we don’t know everything about the byproducts that can sometimes result from combining seemingly harmless building materials.”

The house is also built from " repurposed, recycled, non-toxic, sustainably harvested, and durable materials," including kitchen counters from a bowling alley.

More, including a slideshow with a lot more images, at Greensource

© Studio E architecture

See also a very good explanation of how Passive Houses are built, in a slideshow on the architect's website.

Tags: Oregon | passive house

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