Friday, September 27, 2013


On Sunday evening, 9/22/13, I was able to join in with a number of Passive House California members and enthusiasts at a dinner with Dr. Wolfgang Feist. He is co-creator of the Passive House Standard and the founder of the Passive House Institute.  With him was Dr. Witta Ebel,  his wife and director of the Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany.
Two comments from Dr. Wolfgang Feist, an engaging, earnest, and at times self-deprecating individual, seem just right.
“You live in a ‘lucky’ climate.”         “Open the windows.”
Some background – at first glance the PH Standard appears rigid and narrowly focused.  In application does it really reflect how people live? Does it work here for our Bay Area climate? How about other California climate zones?  Or In Hawaii? Does it constrain architectural design too much?
I interpret his two simple comments this way: 
‘Lucky” , aside from the good weather we enjoy, means less effort and investment is required to meet the goals of the PH Standard. More importantly the PH Standard is quite flexible. It is not just a cold weather standard. PHI recently did studies in Mexico to tune the Passive House Standard to warmer and hot climates where cooling is the issue. So it works here.
“Open the windows” tells me the PH Standard, while leading the way to energy efficiency, energy reduction and direct action re: climate change, also addresses simple human comfort, needs and options. Having good weather? Open the windows!

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