Passive conference on aggressive savings

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .


Pittsburgh is host to the eighth annual North American Passive House Conference next week and would be bringing in bringing in U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan for the opening keynote address if it weren't for the Grande Olde Government Shutdown.
The conference is October 15-19 at the Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place. Two days of pre-conference technical workshops begin Tuesday, Oct. 15. On Wednesday, from 5:30-7:30p, a reception will open the poster session and exhibit hall.
The conference opens on Thursday with keynote plenary sessions, lunch, and an afternoon of four breakouts.
An optional tour of passive house projects is on Saturday.
You can find out more about passive houses and the conference, plus register to attend here. The site will provide information if you want to exhibit and if you want to present the process of your own passive house project.
Passive houses are designed and employ systems to use 80 percent less energy than standard new constructions. They typically cost 10 percent more to build. 
They do not use solar or geothermal systems for heating and cooling or electrical recovery. They are built to be like a Thermos. Here's an article that helps explain how passive space works.
A few plans for passive houses have sprung up in Pittsburgh and one is complete. Lucy de Barbaro and Ayres Freitas are in the process of planning theirs in Squirrel Hill.
Laura Nettleton, a principal at the green architectural firm Thoughtful Balance, is retrofitting an old house in Shadyside to meet passive house standards. Her firm built the area’s first passive house for ACTION-Housing in Heidelberg last year.
The conference highlights include two speeches on Thursday by Sean Penrith, executive director of The Climate Trust and Sebastian Moreno-Vacca, a Belgian architect and educator who founded and presides over Plateforme Maison Passive.
 The conference is brought to you by the Passive House Alliance-US, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture and Passive Buildings Canada with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
Photo by Elliott Kaufman


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