Is Efficiency a Renewable Energy?

Recently, the International Passive House Association (iPHA) and the North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) have introduced the concept that “efficiency is the first renewable energy”. For several years, we have been told that “the least expensive energy is the energy we don’t use.”  From a technical perspective, neither phrase is accurate, but if you compare the relative outcomes of employing renewable energy versus applying energy efficiency measures, they are…


How does a 10% change in efficiency have a 100% impact?

“Value engineering” is a term that is familiar to those involved in the design and construction of buildings and generally involves the substitution of a specified component or system with an alternative solution that is similar, but less expensive. Consider the following: A building is designed to include a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) in order to provide a balanced exchange of continuous fresh air to the occupants and, at…


How is a Firefighter’s “Protective Gear” like a Passive House?

How is a Firefighter’s “Protective Gear” like a Passive House? We are all aware of wildfires here in California — and grateful for the thousands of Firefighters who risked their lives battling those wildfires. They put themselves in environments where they need to be protected from the extreme heat, winds, and unhealthy air full of smoke and other pollutants. Fortunately, they are kept safe “inside” of their personal equipment (PPE).…