21 February 2019 The Fifth Estate’s Willow Aliento: Passive House and Three Deep Dives: Phil Harris, Erwin Boermans, Daniel Kress

Good responses and ones I’ve heard in New Zealand as well. Change our building code in NZ to be equivalent to Passive House in a stepwise fashion; allowing the industry to predict and follow along and then, once we have this in place, moving on to other sustainability measures.

I’m fairly certain that the hydronic heating / cooling comments are misquoted. The ventilation system in a Passive House is for healthy air distribution and is set at the rate needed for health (breathing, moisture and VOC control). It cannot be removed unless folks stop breathing. Using hydronic systems for heating and cooling is great and certainly better mechanical systems is encouraged by Passive House but no ventilation is silly and I suspect a misquote.

The comments on designing for the climate are spot on as that is what Passive House does best. In the tropics if you can ventilate and stay in the comfort zone it will be accounted for and lower your energy demand. What isn’t allowed is claiming that your design does this by making the occupant adapt to being hot and sticky. Folks in the tropics are adding mechanical cooling at a furious rate as soon as they can afford to do so. We need buildings designed for the climate to meet the comfort band and then they can choose to run them hotter or colder or open all the time. The energy costs of those choices will then be minimal. Here in NZ folks with Certified Passive Houses tell me they open the windows more than in there old wooden houses because they stay more comfortable – even with the windows and doors open.

Previous article has some great comments: “More than a dozen comments on our website raised some crucial questions around the Passive House standard. There were concerns about its suitability for the Australian climate, cost implications, issues with overheating in hot weather, reliance on mechanical ventilation systems and the possibility of mould issues.”

Content originally at The Fifth Estate.

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