Passive House certification may currently be considered an outlier among green building standards in the United States, but could that change? In Europe, nearly 30,000 certified homes (under the Passivhaus standard) have already been built, and the City of Brussels is rewriting building codes to mirror these standards. So if this movement is taking Europe by storm, where is it stateside? Here is a taste of the Passive House landscape in the U.S., with a snapshot of recently completed certified projects. Consider it a teaser of what might be next.
This Builders’ Choice Award winner impressed the jury for the 2013 competition with its ultra-insulated building shell, customary of Passive House designs. NK Architects’ design defied the common belief that increased square footage is synonymous with energy waste, considering the 2,700 square foot home effortlessly maintains a 69 F interior temperature throughout the year while using 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a traditional home. Additionally, Passive House designs, on average, provide six additional inches of living space around the perimeter during winter months because of their airtight envelope. So even in the frigid and stormy winter months, the Seattle homeowners can enjoy every inch of their home in comfort. Click here to read more about Park Passive.
Passive Houses from a production builder? Yes, says Brookfield Residential, a land developer and production builder of single family homes. The developer recently completed a Passive House in north Denver, which the company says is the first in Colorado. With no visible difference in aesthetic or square footage–and a difference in price that the developer says is easily absorbed by energy savings–the Passive House design from KGA Studio Architects defies the stigma that "sustainable" must be expensive and custom built. Brookfield representatives say that the company plans to integrate Passive House design into more of its communities if the design in Midtown at Clear Creek is well received. Click here to read more about Brookfield Residential's Passive House.
Speaking of building Passive Houses at scale, here’s a possibility to chew on. As mentioned earlier, Germany seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to Passive House, and this particular project really shows off the country’s gusto for green. Bahnstadt is a sustainable urban development that incorporates dwellings, businesses, and education on one centrally located campus – and all of which are Passive House certified. The campus takes up almost 290 acres, but maintains an open landscape and easy accessibility to public transportation. Increased efficiency in the buildings is derived from smart metering for more intelligent power consumption as well as district heating. Though Passive House standards strictly consider building efficiency, the Heidelberg city council has meticulously incorporated community connectivity into its design to better suit citizens’ needs. Click here to read more about Bahnstadt.