The North American Passive House Network held a two-day conference in Portland, Maine, this month. The well-attended conference drew attendees from all over the U.S., as well as from China, the U.K., and Germany.
Because it was a four-track conference, it was impossible to attend every session — a frustrating fact for attendees. Many of the experts who gave presentations at the Portland conference have written for, or been featured in, Green Building Advisor; among the familiar names were Matthew O’Malia, Chris Corson, Dylan Lamar, Malcolm Isaacs, Nabih Tahan, Peter Schneider, Graham Irwin, Marc Rosenbaum, Tim Eian, Jesper Kruse, and Phil Kaplan.
With so many smart people gathered together under one roof, the conversations in the hallways and at the lunch tables were almost as valuable as the presentations. Like most people who attended the conference, I learned a lot while I was there.
It was exciting to see so many consultants, designers, and builders present their latest projects. These construction professionals are doing excellent work. At the Portland conference, they talked about their mistakes, presented information on new methods, and shared data. In many cases, Passivhaus builders are discovering new, less expensive ways to build excellent buildings — including some of the best homes being built in North America today.
Dr. Wolfgang Feist, the founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, gave the conference’s keynote address on Monday morning, September 22.
According to my notes, Feist made five important points:
At the beginning of his address, Feist repeated one of his points at least three times. Referring to the Passivhaus standard, he told the audience in Portland, “The background of this is science. … It’s about science. … It’s a concept which is based on science.”
He named five scientists whose work helped smooth the way for…