EpiPHany Corner | The Audubon Society Supports Wind Energy

This month’s EpiPHany Corner, while not directly related to Passive House, does provide some relevant insights associated with the production of renewable energy — specifically, the misinformation regarding the significance of bird deaths from wind turbines. The fact that the misinformation is largely funded by the fossil fuel industry is not an epiphany. Indeed, a significant number of birds are lost to collisions with turbine blades, but research into causes…


EpiPHany Corner | PH Envelope Elevates the Impact of other Efficiency Measures

Passive House protocols, when applied to the design and construction of a building, will dramatically reduce the energy required for heating and cooling. This reduced energy for heating and cooling lowers the overall energy use significantly. As a result, the amount of energy used for water heating, lighting, refrigeration, appliances/electronics (plug loads) become more impactful and more important to manage. Consider the example below.  The Pie Chart on the left…


EpiPHany Corner | Can You Quantify the Value of High Performance?

When you shop for a pair of running shoes, you will consider the purchase price and relevant performance related features (waterproofing, arch support, tread pattern, durability, etc.) but your purchase decision, among similar alternatives, will be based on how they fit your feet (comfort) and how well they “fit with” your intended use. Even if you wind up spending a few dollars more, you are choosing the best value based…


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).…