Owl Woods PH nails a design-stage retrofit for performance

Check out a beautiful project from across the Tasman, the Owl Woods Passive House. It’s the 10th certified Passive House in Victoria, Australia and it’s won or still a finalist for a host of design and sustainability awards. Check out photos here; there are even a few construction photos, which are always my favourites. The Passive House Database entry will satisfy …

Great Passive House primer (includes eye candy and clear diagrams!)

This is a lovely summary of Passive House, written up as a Q&A with an American architect. There’s mention of an intriguing North American connection to the genesis of Passive House which you may not be aware of, some appealing images of various Passive Houses (I’m loving the Brussels home) plus some excellent diagrams illustrating the five basic principles. All …

Homeschooling resources (for adults and kids)

At-home learning seems set to continue for a while; for those raising the next generation of building geeks/scientists/informed homeowners, here are some resources that might be useful, compiled by the UK Passivhaus Trust: “Shout-out to all the parents and guardians entertaining and expanding pupils’ minds at home. Many within the construction industry and science sectors are rising to the challenge …

Social housing can be this good

Exeter, in England’s south-west, is blazing a trail for Passive House social housing. Its Chester Long Court, 26 high-quality, affordable homes built to the Passive House standard, has won design awards (along with, I expect, abiding appreciation from those who live in them). The Council’s goal was to create apartments for their over-60s social housing tenants. By downsizing, larger Council homes …

How much more for PH performance? Very little, says UK

This extensive cost study of Passive House projects in the UK shows that for projects that make good choices, the capital cost premium is down to eight per cent. At scale, that premium is projected to drop to four per cent: “The [Passive House] standard in the UK can be achieved now for a modest extra-over cost and this is …

New England delivers PH social housing

Here’s an excellent discussion of the overall benefits to the tenants of this social housing project for low-income tenants in a high-cost area. It’s a six-story building with 98 units in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Plus, it spells out the benefits to society of building right. “In each case, the goal is to give heating and cooling systems very little to do. …

Prefab CLT slashes construction time

This big-budget, single family residence in posh North Vancouver, Canada, benefited from use of 4.5 inch prefabricated cross-laminated timbers (CLT). The structure was erected in a few weeks rather than months, reducing construction costs and exposure to rain—and given Vancouver’s wet climate, that is a significant benefit. Despite three stories of wall-to-wall glass, this is a net-zero energy project. I’m …

Passive House homes hitting headlines in Australia

One of the last projects by a lifetime builder is a certified Passive House he built for himself and his wife, in Bright, Australia. Energy costs currently amount to about $12 a week—but Trevor Chick and Leanne Guy are expecting that will drop to “near-zero” all year-round once the solar panels are installed. Anyone approaching retirement would appreciate that. The …

Radical rethink required for school buildings

Replacing eight schools’ coal-fired boilers with ones that run on biomass, as reported earlier this year, is a good move but it wouldn’t be necessary if our schools weren’t built so badly. Too many students are herded into poorly-designed, badly-constructed school buildings that can create an unhealthy learning environment. They take huge amounts of energy to run and may still …