EpiPHany Corner | How is Integrated Design analogous to a winning football team?

We are experiencing increased interest and awareness of the possible integration of Passive House strategies in the affordable multifamily industry to increase energy efficiency, healthy indoor air quality, and resilience. Affordable multifamily developers have consistently been early adopters of environmentally responsible practices in the design and construction of their projects. Most recently, in their quest to reduce greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and provide the best possible living conditions for occupants, they are shifting away from onsite fossil fuel combustion and moving to all electric buildings. The next logical step is the integration of Passive House strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change by further reducing GHGs, and increasing resilience as we face extreme heat, smoke from wildfires, and power outages. The concept of Integrated Design, as applied to multifamily buildings, can reference the early engagement of the design and construction team (architects, engineers, contractors, etc.) and most recently, the integration of elements from multiple building certification programs. In California, the primary certification programs associated with affordable multifamily are LEED and CALGreen. LEED is based on point accumulation in seven categories and CALGreen provides comprehensive checklists in six divisions. Both provide broad and excellent guidelines for environmentally responsible design, construction, and operation of buildings. *(Details below) When integrated with LEED and CALGreen, Passive House’s performance-based standards for airtightness of the envelope and operational energy required can deliver significant benefits.

For the “AHA” moment, I often make the analogy between LEED Categories and/or CALGreen Divisions, and assembling a professional football team. For a high-level football team, it is important to find well qualified individuals to play at each position. Depending on positions, you may look for speed, quickness, agility, strength, balance, ability to throw, to catch, to tackle, and on and on. To win games, team members must also have a comprehensive playbook and then follow a detailed game plan for each specific opponent. The Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) serves as the play book and integrates the necessary planning and implementation into a game plan that achieves the specific performance requirements for the airtight envelope, indoor air quality, energy required for operations, and resilience — wins for occupants and owners.

*LEED Categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Operations & Regional Priority. It is possible to go beyond the minimums and gain certifications of Standard, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. CALGreen is California’s state-mandated green building code and is formally known as the California Green Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 11, of the California Code of Regulations‌. CALGreen provides checklists in six divisions: Planning and Design, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency and Conservation, Material Conservation and Resource, Environmental Quality. Tier 1 adds additional requirements beyond the mandatory measures. Tier 2 further increases the requirements

Author: Jay Gentry