das Haus II

The das Haus conference organized by Chicago’s German American Chamber of Commerce was this past Friday.  I was expecting the event to go more in depth about Passive House strategies and specifications, but rather provided a broader overview of green technology initiatives initiated in Chicago, mostly in terms of retrofitting and high-performance new construction in the city.  This included Peter Ludwig with CNT Energy sbouy energy efficiency in residential; Jeff Kocinski with Chicago’s PHAUS; Mark Taylor with UIUC about the university’s entries into the solar decathlon and associated research; Jamie Pponce with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; and Erin Lavin Cabonargi with the Public Building Commission of Chicago.  Good conversation, good food, I must say it was a nice introduction into the sustainable actions within the built environment industries in the Chicago area.

The following are photos from the Passive House display on Daley Plaza.  At a Living Building Challenge meeting recently, someone pointed out a few large differences between the two rating systems.  While Passive House looks mainly at energy usage, therefore optimizing building envelope regulation, the Living Building Challenge approaches many more aspects of a project, including water usage, energy consumption and production, healthy materials, equity, and beauty.  Therefore, Passive House standards could more easily fit into a Living Building’s standards than the other way around.  Yet, as you can see from a wall sample below, it is still (supposedly) possible to reach the Passive House standards with more natural, lower embodied energy materials (here it is clay, composite wood, and cellulose fiber insulation, which seems pretty good).

If you have any good examples of Dwellings that meet or are close to Passive House standards, please feel free to pass them along.

das Haus in Chicago September 2012

A wall sample with healthier, more natural ingredient list

Author: Meg C

Meghan is a recent Master of Architecture graduate from the University of Cincinnati. She is interested in all aspects of sustainability, finding the most pertinent ways it relates to the built environment including social justice in terms of material choice, implementation, and life-cycle. While pragmatic concerns are ever-present, she constantly explores the inexplicable beauty to be found in the intersection of order and the poetics of space.