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The low energy use of the first Passivhaus in Bremen, Germany, is surprising, especially since the house has neither solar collectors, nor a PV array, nor a boiler.
I've been a big fan of building scientist John Straube for a long time. And equally as big of a fan, for just as long, of deep-energy engineer Marc Rosenbaum. To see the two of them face off over the ultra-low energy use Passivhaus concept is a green-building wonk's dream. Our always enlightening (and often entertaining) sister site,, has a pro/con pair of articles under the banner "Does Passivhaus Make Sense Over Here?" Gold. Start with John Straube's "con" article first: "Comparing Passivhaus Standard Homes to Other Low-Energy Homes." It handily describes the Passivhaus standard as it goes along, in case you're not familiar with it. Then read the "pro" rebut, "In Defense of the Passive House Standard," by Marc Rosenbaum and David White (who I don't know, but am going to keep my eyes open for). Passivhaus or not? Yes and no.

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1 The point is to increase the posted by Isaac on 11/09/2009 at 05:13 pm

The point is to increase the efficiency of structures, right? Arguing over the last 5-10% of gains seems a misdirection of our energies. 0.6 or 6 air changes? Either one is a huge improvement over the performance of most buildings now. While debates is healthy, and performance vs. lifetime cost should always be analyzed, we might achieve more if we directed this energy at implementing better nationwide standards and programs, educating the trades, etc. we might do well to treat our own time and energy as if it is the finite resource that keeps us dry and warm in the winter.

2 I think the construction and posted by David Benjamin on 11/06/2009 at 03:15 pm

I think the construction and successful operation of over 13,000 buildings built or renovated to the Passivhaus standard in Europe says a great deal, including those from Italy to Sweden, and also a very few in the States. This shows that the ability to produce year after year performance with their concept of tightly built envelopes that are well insulated and that recycle their heat/cool is a good and reliable solution for a variety of different buiding types, but also for energy renovations and upgrades. And besides, because of the build quality, these buildings are known to have no iaq problems. Perhaps Straube should visit Germany and see what these houses can do.

3 It's interesting with the sub posted by Marcus on 11/05/2009 at 11:48 am

It's interesting with the subject Green Building. In connection with COP15 to be held in Copenhagen later this year, the site, have launched relating to this subject. Buildings are the number one consumers of energy on the planet and buildings contribute more to global warming than all the cars, planes and factories in the world combined.

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