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Green Building News

A Bridge Over Passivhaus Waters

Three regional groups launch a website intended to serve as a news and technical resource for the entire Passivhaus community in the U.S.

Image Credit: American Passive House Network

As the Passivhaus standard becomes less of a novelty and more widely embraced by designers and builders in the U.S., it seemed logical that some of the standard’s advocates would create an independent forum for sharing news, project ideas, and technical expertise, and for generally promoting the standard.

And that is exactly what happened. Members of Passive House California, New York Passive House, and Passive House North-West last year cofounded a group called American Passive House Network and, on January 16, announced the rollout of its website as a resource for all things Passivhaus. APHN membership is limited to regional Passivhaus groups — individuals and companies cannot be members — but everyone from curious consumers to industry professionals are welcome to use the site.

Even though it is newly launched, the APHN site is already stocked with a healthy list of Passivhaus-related news items on its home page; a list of dozens of training sessions on its News & Events page; a breakdown of regional news on its Regional Focus page; links to Passivhaus blogs in the U.S., Canada, and Europe; a resource page for training; and contacts for both building and consultant certifications.

Aiming to be useful – and apolitical

APHN includes links to programs and resources offered by Passivhaus Institut, in Germany, and Passive House Institute U.S., in Urbana, Illinois, and naturally steers clear of the disputes that caused the two organizations to sever ties last year.

“The goal of the network is to serve as a resource and communication hub for any and all existing and emerging regional Passive House organizations,” APHN said in announcing the launch of the site. “We choose to remain independent from the growing body of training and certification entities on the US market. We hope this allows the Passive House market to develop and flourish organically. We endeavor to promote all groups who share our common interest in promoting the adoption of the Passive House standard across the North American continent.”

One of the volunteers who has helped establish the APHN is New York architect Ken Levenson. “It is difficult to be part of the Passive House Alliance U.S. and still retain independence, and not serve the interests of PHIUS,” Levenson explained. “Passive House Alliance U.S. is not independent — it serves the interests of PHIUS. Folks wanted something that wasn’t tied to any organization that was involved in certifying or training, or any organization that had a business interest in one field or another. Basically we wanted a neutral forum to promote anything and all things passive house. PHIUS is, for justifiable business reasons, very invested in their approach and what they are doing. We want to be able to offer clarifying statements and not to take positions — to be a tool for regional groups. We intend to work hard to maintain a sense of neutrality.”


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