2017 Conference Presentations

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Track A: Materials

Study of Long Screws in Mineral Wool to Support Siding - Lorne Ricketts - Summary of results of recent study by RDH on deflection of exterior insulation assemblies using long screws. Low thermal bridging and high strength.

Life Cycle Analysis - Rita Schenk

Durability Panel

Track B: Multi-Family

Passive House 2.0 - Follow on Multi-Family Projects from Five Firms - Monte Paulson

Multifamily Passive House Case Studies - Joe Giampietro - Joe Giampietro will compare and contrast three multifamily Passive House projects in Seattle and Pittsburgh. The Seattle project, Matni Passive House Apartments, is a 59-unit market rate mixed use building in Seattle’s lower Queen Anne neighborhood. The two Pittsburgh projects, Morningside Crossing (46-units) and Glassport Retirement residence (55-units), are both Passive House senior living facilities that combine a Passive House retrofit of an elementary school plus a new Passive House wing addition. Joe will share lessons learned, with particular focus on mechanical solutions to achieve Passive House, and design strategies for the retrofit portions of the Pittsburgh projects.

World's First Cold Climate Passive House Production Facility - Andrew Peel - This session will explore the design and construction challenges and solutions of the first Passive
House Production Facility in a cold climate. The client, a health products manufacturer, sought a very low impact, low toxicity building that would provide the foundation for its growing business. Located in a rural area with strict electrical capacity limits, reducing energy demand was critical to realizing the project. Very specific client and process requirements, coupled with a very cold, dry winter climate and unique site conditions forced the design team members to continually re-evaluate proposed solutions in order optimize the design. What resulted is an innovative building that will serve as a beacon for commercial PH in the region and province.

Cowhorn Tasting Room - Cowhorn Vineyard is an award-winning, biodynamic vineyard nestled in Southern Oregon’s picturesque Applegate Valley. When owners Bill and Barbara Steele looked to create a new tasting room and case storage area for their growing business, sustainability goals were high on their list of priorities. The new tasting room is seeking full Living Building Certification—the first in the Rogue Valley—and used Passive House principles and strategies to become net-zero ready.

Track C: Systems

Getting to EnerPHIT for Commercial Buildings: Start with the HVAC - Aubrey Gewehr and Barry Stephens - There is a significant push to retrofit existing commercial buildings to reduce energy use, especially in urban centers such as New York and Vancouver, BC. Free standing commercial buildings are the low hanging fruit for significant energy savings, and EnerPHIT proponents and practitioners have a big opportunity. The place to start, and to get big energy savings, is with the HVAC systems in these buildings. And once the HVAC system is up to EnerPHIT standards, the envelope is ready for air sealing and insulation to optimize possible efficiency. And IAQ and health in these spaces improves dramatically.
Learn what is being done to retrofit buildings across North America, and how these buildings are prime candidates for EnerPHIT retrofits. Case studies, energy models and  extrapolated modeling to EnerPHIT will demonstrate the possibilities.

Central Hot Water Temperature Maintenance Pilot Study - Shawn Oram - Central hot water heating systems are popular for multifamily housing projects as they free up
rentable space, centralize maintenance, mitigate costly repairs due to leaky tanks in units and allow for cost effective central heat plants. One common theme in all hot water central loops are the losses associated with the circulation loop used for keeping the hot water lines primed and ready to deliver hot water. Historically the losses are assumed to be about 20% of the total energy used by the hot water system within modeling protocols and program analysis. In modern buildings with low flow plumbing fixtures this number is actually closer to 35-70% based on metering of actual installed systems in Seattle. This 35-70% heat loss number has an impact on the total load for DHW heating systems and is not well understood by most plumbing and engineering designers.

Mechanical Systems from an Engineer - Galen Staengl

2 Current NEEA Projects: Replacing RTU's with Large HRV's, Larger CO2 Heatpumps - Charlie Stevens - For a general session on his NEEA retrofit program where he is seeing load cut by 50%-75% on existing commercial buildings by replacing gas RTU’s with a big HRV and VRF heat pumps. He now has initial data that is sounding pretty compelling.


Theme: Single Family Residential

Whitney Architects (3 Projects)

Hinge Build "Phoenix PH"

CaliPASSIVE - A Prototype Production Passive House - Graham Irwin and Spencer Dobrolvony - A collaboration between a Passive House architect and builder and conceived as a prototype production Passive House, CaliPASSIVE is easily adaptable to site conditions and owner preferences. The elemental, modernist form provides a functional yet stylish home with flexibility to accommodate people at all stages of life and a wide variety of style palettes. Construction details are climate-adaptable and continually refined to lower costs, increase ease of construction, and enable widespread participation by the existing building industry. The goal is to provide durable, multi-generational, comfortable, healthy and efficient homes to people of all ages at cost parity with standard construction. This four bedroom, 3-1/2 bath home is on track for construction in Fountaingrove, CA in 2017.

If Volunteers Can Build a Passive House, Why Can't You? - Benjamin Wolk - Zoetic Architecture has partnered with Benton Habitat for Humanity to design and build the first Habitat Passive House in the state of Oregon. Located in Corvallis and constructed with almost completely volunteer labor, it is designed as a prototype for future Habitat homes in the area and also for other Habitat chapters around the country to demonstrate how you can build a successful Passive House on a Habitat level budget using almost all volunteer labor. The presentation will cover how this project was designed to take advantage of a volunteer labor force by using simple, straight-forward strategies for meeting the Passive House standard, along with reducing material costs. Because of this project, Benton Habitat has committed to building all future houses based on Passive House principles.

Julie Torres-Moscovitz

Cowhorn Residence - When facing a challenging site, with north-facing views and prescribing an elongated shape, the team explored various upgrades to meet the goal. From increasing R-values in wall or floor assemblies, to increasing the glazing from triple to quadruple pane. All while maintaining low-carbon and vapor open assemblies for the Cowhorn
residence, a 2,400 sf, modern, single family project located near Jacksonville, OR. The presentation will include in introduction into the project program and site constrains. As well as a comparison of results from PHPP and WUFI Passive model and the decision-making process.

Building a Passive House in a 10000 HDD Climate - Florian Speier - The Amethyst Passive house is located in rural Steamboat Springs, CO, a nearly 10000 HDD climate. In designing this PH, we purposely tried out different techniques in this 4500sqft house - three different ground conditions, three different external insulation approaches, two heating
systems, three ways to install windows, overglazing, external shading, PH style garage doors and anything else we could throw in to make it different from standard construction (like
modeling it in PHPP and WUFI). We harvested the GeoFoam from an out-of-luck movie theater turned church. It took four months to engineer the 50 foot lift slide system that opens over a corner. No contractor wanted to touch this house, so we did it ourselves. Welcome to the journey.

2016-2017  - A Comparison of 6 Passive Houses - Randy Foster and Tessa Smith - Randy Foster and Tessa Smith, Principals of Artisans Group will compare and contrast the last three Passive Houses Built by their firm in 2016, to the three under construction in 2017. Alterations in response to experience on every successive project maps refinement for sequencing and material choice, these adjustments and refinements will be documented and discussed. Topics of particular focus will include the assemblies, details, PHPP modeling and lessons learned in construction.

Theme: Multi-Family

Builder Panel

Where We Went Right & Where We Went Left - James Ortega - PHIUS has collected and analyzed the monitored energy use of several affordable multifamily projects. The proposed presentation explores the different projects on a case by case basis and the corresponding analyses seek to understand the differences in modeled and monitored results.

Energy Performance Data - Orchards at Orenco Phase I - Dylan Lamar - Orchards at Orenco Phase I Multifamily Passivehaus performance update.

Post-Occupany Research at the North Park Passive House - Part 2 - Christy Love - The North Park Passive House, a 6-unit strata project located in Victoria BC, was occupied
in September 2015. It is the first market strata-title certified Passive House development in Canada. While well-established elsewhere, there are limited data on the actual performance of low energy residential buildings in various Canadian climates. To address this gap, RDH, with support from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Homeowner Protection Office of BC Housing, and FP Innovations, undertook detailed quantitative and qualitative performance measurement of the North Park Passive House. The intent of this research is to develop a comprehensive case study for a Passive House project in the coastal BC climate. This project was first presented at the 2016 PHNW conference, when data collection had just begun. We now have a full year of post-occupancy data and will present the final results.

Economics of Passive House Delivery: The EcoProforma - Tim Weyand - In Passive House planning we optimize inputs for thermal performance, air tightness, thermal bridging, glazing, building form and orientation, etc. But developers optimize projects based on inputs like overall construction cost, cost of money, incentives, rents and vacancies. To encourage Passive House adoption, we need to make the case for our projects based on these latter variables. Passive House projects are financially feasible when the entire development process is looked at and taken into account, not just construction cost. Tim will share NK Architects’ tool, the EcoProforma™. It facilitates a collaborative process between developer, architect, builder, and CPHC that expands the traditional parametric analysis of Passive House design to include the key financial parameters that developers face when attempting to make a project “pencil.”

Cultural Leadership: Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre Passivehouse - Mark Ashby - Representing the interest of First Nation, Inuit and Métis people Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre is a service and advocacy resource for indigenous people in the Mid-Vancouver Island region. The organization’s work includes the creation of support facilities and housing. Scheduled to begin construction in 2017, Nanaimo Passivehouse is a 25 unit affordable rental housing development serving youth, families and elders in the local aboriginal community. NAC’s firm  commitment to PHI certification demonstrates regional environmental leadership and a commitment to the long-term dignity, health and comfort of the residents. Fusing traditional materials with contemporary design and building science, the building’s design by DYS Architecture demonstrates a no-compromise approach that synthesizes Passivehouse with the cultural, architectural and social objectives of the project.

Passive Multifamily - Large Building Design and Commissioning Lessons Learned - Chris McTaggart, Ryan Shanahan, and Sean Conta - With the growing awareness and interest in passive house certification, by far the largest growing sector pursuing certification is attached multifamily construction. Favorable surface area to living space ratios allow for economies of scale in envelope design, as well as the opportunity to achieve savings in mechanical budgets due to significantly lower heating and cooling loads comparative to conventional construction. Although similar construction concepts for achieving passive house certification apply to multifamily buildings as they do single family residences, the approach to achieving high performance air tight building enclosures and well-designed and commissioned mechanical system can be a shift in approach for commercial contractors. Additionally, testing and verification of larger buildings and their systems requires innovative approaches to ensure full program compliance and building performance. This presentation will draw from the experience of PHIUS+ certified verification professionals who have helped to ensure the performance of early certified PHIUS+ projects in the Pacific Northwest. Specially, the presentation will discuss building enclosure and mechanical system design strategies that have proven to be most successful, as well as some of the challenges projects have faced throughout the certification process. Additionally, a special emphasis will be placed on whole-building air tightness testing strategies for buildings of varying construction style and size, as well as tips on ventilation system performance verification.

Theme: Policy

Passive House Moving Towards the City Scale - Chris Higgins and Scott Kennedy -  This session will review a number of multifamily Passive House projects in Vancouver with an eye to how these projects are affecting City policy. The session will review early lessons learned in design, construction, education, incentives, and policy.

Effective Energy Code Development - Chuck Murray - A discussion about proactive involvement in the development of the Washington State Energy Code.  

Policy Panel

Theme: Energy

MEETS - Utility Power Purchase Agreement for Energy Conservation - Rob Harmon

Grid Tied DC Backup Battery Systems in High Performance or Passive House Applications - Gavin Tenold - Passive House presents a unique opportunity pair Battery Systems with efficient construction practices to create resiliency on the part of the Owner in the event of a grid failure, or to take advantage of peak shaving. In this presentation we will review the construction detailing, solar array sizing and battery system integration of the South Hill and Carpenter Creek Passive Houses and how similar systems could be integrated into larger projects.

Parametric Modeling Applications in Passive House - Optimization, Customization, and Efficiency - Colin Schless - This presentation will explore how advances in parametric modeling have helped designers optimize high performance projects for energy use, first cost, and passive metrics such as heating and cooling loads and conditioning demand.  These tool developments allow teams to sort through tens of thousands of iterations of model inputs on a variety of project types- come see what they found!

The Why of Psi: Getting a Handle on Thermal Bridging - Rolf Jacobson, Chris Petit - Why you want to consider thermal bridges from the beginning of your design process and how they especially impact Passive Houses. We will review PHI and PHIUS protocols for modeling thermal bridges and illustrate typical common details that include thermal bridges. We show you how to calculate them and avoid them in the design stage.

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