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PassiveHaus Seminar: Undercurrents of Trouble in the Passivhaus Movement

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Bronwyn Brody slide

credit: Lloyd Alter

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I enjoyed starting the morning with a presentation on Passive House design, one of the oddest I have ever been to.

TreeHugger readers who have seen Passive House Institute In US Dumped By Mother Ship Passivhaus will know that there is a bit of a dispute going on in North America, and if you knew what was going on, you could sense a bit of tension in the presentations.

Brownwyn Barry of Quantum Builders did a great intro (including a lovely final slide recommending TreeHugger as a good source of information). Then it got a bit strange. Ross Elliot of Ottawa's Homesol described how a house he worked on got certified as the first Passive House in Canada by PHIUS (Passive House Institute US) and then uncertified by the Passive House Institute, and what he is trying to do to get his house certified again (including considering chopping down a tree that is not on the property).

Prudence Ferreira of Integral Impact then suggests that "PH is public domain, an open scientific concept that is alive and not static! It needs more research and empirical data for North America!" even though thousands have been built in Europe.

American exceptionalism rears its head in the Passivhaus movement. I was not the only one in the audience who was confused.