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Maine Will Host North American Passivhaus Conference

Passivhaus founder Dr. Wolfgang Feist will deliver the keynote address in Portland, Maine, in September

Posted on Mar 7 2014 by Scott Gibson

The two-day North American Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Conference takes place in September 2014 in Portland, Maine, with the keynote address to be delivered by Passivhaus Institut founder and director Dr. Wolfgang Feist.

The conference is scheduled for Sept. 22-23, 2014, at the Holiday Inn Portland By the Bay. The North American Passive House Network is the sponsor, with support from Passivhaus Maine. Registration and workshop details have yet to be announced, but the conference has set up a website where additional information will be posted.

The Passive House Network said it would be accepting proposals for presentations to be made at the conference. Topics could be residential or commercial and cover any climate zone.

One likely topic for discussion in the fall will be two new categories of Passivhaus certification that were announced recently by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.

In a news release earlier in the week, the institute announced the addition of two designations,"Passive House Plus" and "Passive House Premium." The first denotes a house that produces about as much energy as it consumes, while the "premium" label is for buildings that produce an energy surplus.

The institute offered few details about the new designations, but said more information would be made available at the International Passive House Conference April 25-26, 2014, in Aachen, Germany.

Currently, the Passivhaus building standard includes strict energy and airtightness requirements, but doesn't mention anything about generating energy. A spokesman said the new labels would be "extras," but wouldn't change the Passivhaus standard.

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  1. Passivhaus Institut
Fri, 03/07/2014 - 16:37

Edited Fri, 03/07/2014 - 16:39.

Unfortunate confusion
by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

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The Passive House Institute of the US will host its conference in San Francisco, 10-14 September, the 9th annual North American Passive House Conference. It's unfortunate that another group has adopted the name that PHIUS has been using for years.

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 16:43

Edited Fri, 03/07/2014 - 16:44.

Response to Allison Bailes
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

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It's one more example of fallout from the 2011 divorce between PHIUS and the Passivhaus Institut.

Needless to say, Wolfgang Feist isn't likely to be invited to a PHIUS conference for quite some time....

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 17:07

The split from PHI
by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

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The split between PHIUS and PHI in Germany isn't really a big deal. The other European countries doing Passivhaus do their own thing and don't follow Feist's PHI standard exactly, but they're all still Passivhaus. It's unfortunate that there's another group here in the US trying to compete against PHIUS, but that's the situation. I'm a new PHIUS board member, and I hope we can come together again and eliminate the confusion created by having two groups. It's a small enough movement already. Splitting it like this doesn't help.

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 18:03

Any talk?
by Dan Kolbert

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Allison - I didn't know you'd joined the board - mazel tov. Is there any communication between the 2 groups? Do you think there are substantive issues that divide the groups or is it more about leadership clashes?

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 19:04

Response to Dan Kolbert
by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

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Thanks, Dan. I've been on the board since the conference in Pittsburgh last fall. As far as I can tell, the schism boils down to personality clashes. We're having a PHIUS conference call tomorrow, and I imagine that one of the things we'll talk about is how to move past the divide. It doesn't make much sense for a movement so small to have competing conferences and two certification organizations.

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 22:43

splitting this in 2-3 is the
by Jin Kazama

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splitting this in 2-3 is the best way to make sure it never achieve the goals ...

What about similar group(s) from Canada ?

We are all in the same boat, all groups should be affiliated and share what is required for success.

Portland is close enough ( 4-5 hours drive ) from my place that i am seriously considering to drive there. Sifu Martin would you be going to since you aren't far from there ??

Sat, 03/08/2014 - 09:00

Edited Sat, 03/08/2014 - 09:16.

Response to Allison Bailes III
by Ken Levenson

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Hopefully to help clarify: the name chosen for the conference was a simple generic placeholder. It would seem perfectly logical that the North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) is presenting a North American Passive House Conference. That was all.

I'd also like to clarify that the NAPHN is not "trying to compete against PHIUS". And this is not about personalities. NAPHN is only trying to build knowledge sharing regarding the International Passive House Standard. The International Passive House Standard is alive and well in North America with many projects, and many consultants and tradespersons making them a reality. With conferences in California, Portland Oregon and Canada this month of March, a North American tract at the International Passive House Conference in Aachen in April, and another conference in New York City in June - a North American Conference in the Fall is a useful addition help build the knowledge base.

Lastly, we all want to see more low-energy/Passive House buildings built - we want to see them become normal practice. To the extent we can all work together so much the better.

No matter the material differences we should be able to move forward in a positive way. If helpful, I'd personally be happy to speak with PHIUS board members and discuss the possibilities. I've got a busy day today, but maybe we can speak tomorrow/Sunday, Allison?

Ken Levenson
I'm writing for myself only, but just to be clear as to relationships:
President, New York Passive House
Founding member of North American Passive House Network
(formerly a founding Director of the Passive House Alliance)
Partner, 475 High Performance Building Supply

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 22:50

Edited Wed, 03/12/2014 - 22:53.

Passivhaus Conferences
by Tom Lofft

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Why Quibble about the self-imposed divisiveness of arrogant self determined semanticists?
The US has 320 million residents and Canada has several million more. They can't all attend one conference. It's better to invest our energy in separate conferences on the east coast and west coast and holding them in Seattle/Portland, OR, and in Portland, MN is as logical as any other if that's where the strongest markets are. I wouldn't be at all suprised to see another in Alberta or Montreal or International Falls, MN. .

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