Forget Energy Star and LEED, Green Building is Passivhaus

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passivhaus passive house design housing energy conservation photo smith house
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Katrin Klingenberg's Smith House

The first Passivhaus in America, designed by Katrin Klingenberg, shows a lot of the common properties in Passivhaus design. It is relatively small, boxy (corners are hard to insulate), has lots of windows to the south and not too many anywhere else. The only heat in the joint that doesn't come from the people inside is a hair-dryer sized coil in the heat recovery ventilator. The walls are R60 and there are 14 inches of styrofoam under the slab.

Cooling was a problem; they fried for the first few years until they installed a grape arbor to shade those windows in summer.

Katrin went on to found the Passive House Institute, the official certifier of the Passivhaus standard in the USA. I still think she got the name wrong.

More: Passive House Institute and in TreeHugger: A Passiv Haus in Urbana, Illinois

Credit: Katrin Klingenberg