In January 2012, Katrin Klingenberg, the founder of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), announced that her organization would develop a new passive house standard for North America — a standard that differed from the Passivhaus standard developed in Darmstadt, Germany.
Writing in her blog in 2012, Klingenberg explained that “it’s time to allow for a modification process to the rigid annual heating and cooling requirement of less or equal to 15 kWh/m²•yr… for the North American continent’s more extreme climates… This idea that we need to adapt the standard to various regions has taken root around the world from domestic energy experts like Martin Holladay, Alex Wilson, and Marc Rosenbaum and to Passive House groups from other countries, like the Swedes.”
Almost two years later, Klingenberg made another announcement: the work required to develop the new standard would be partly funded by U.S. taxpayers (through the Department of Energy), and one of the contracts for the required study would be awarded to the Building Science Corporation of Westford, Massachusetts.
A few weeks ago, Klingenberg’s first goal was reached when the DOE-funded paper (“Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards”) was published. The report has three authors: Betsy Pettit (from Building Science Corporation), Graham Wright (from PHIUS), and Katrin Klingenberg.
In effect, the paper is a draft for a proposed new passive house standard. PHIUS is now inviting the public to comment on the draft standard; after the public comments are reviewed, the standard may be modified before being adopted by PHIUS.
A few years ago, PHIUS cut the umbilical cord linking it to Germany. Since then, the U.S. organization has no longer been bound by the German definition of a “Passivhaus.” Because if its recent independence, PHIUS now has a chance to ask an important question: what, exactly, do…