StraightUp recently completed construction of a 4 kW system for Missouri’s first Passive House – or “PassivHaus” in German. In conjunction with the project consultant, Gary Steps of Butterfly Energy Works, and architect Ralph Eglin Wafer, we worked tirelessly to see this pioneering project get started.
PassivHaus is a German invention from a physicist who was inspired by the U.S. response to the 70’s oil crisis. There are 4 main criteria: total annual heating load must not be more that 15 kWh per square meter; total annual cooling loads must meet the same criteria; total primary energy consumption must not be more than 120 kWh per square meter; and the building must not have more than 0.6 air changes per hour.
This Dogtown home features passive heating that adds 3,000 BTUs per hour that won’t need to be provided by the heater. Super energy efficient Low-E glass slows down the transfer of exterior temperature changes. Total mechanical ventilation assures precise control of air exchange and thus creates even temperatures. “Unlike a normal building all surfaces will be room temperature – so temperatures can be kept lower as there will be no drafts or cold surfaces” – Gary Steps
Currently, there are estimated to be 30,000 PassivHaus projects worldwide but only some 200 constructed or proposed in the U.S. This number should grow as all EU houses must be built to this standard by 2015.