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Passive House: Past, Present, and Future

A look at where PHIUS has been, and where passive building is going
November 21, 2023

This is a presentation from 2023's Westford Symposium on Building Science, aka Building Science Summer Camp; Kat Klingenberg is the founder and executive director of Passive House Institute US, and the first builder of a North American passive house in 2002.

Here at the highlights of her presentation.

Passive House Background:

Kat expresses gratitude for the introduction and humorously mentions the challenge of not wanting to waste time at summer camp. She humorously mentions Joe's assignment to talk about the past, present, and future of passive houses.

Kat changes the presentation title to "Passive House Murder Mystery" and hints at making predictions at the end.

Kat shares her architectural education in Berlin, moving to the U.S. and landing at Ball State University. She reflects on discovering the early phases of the environmental movement. Kat explores the origins of passive house, mentioning the energy crisis of 1973 and the first energy standard in 1975.

Kat delves into her detective work, tracing back the history of super insulation and passive solar. She highlights the contributions of researchers like Marvin Rosen, Bob Kuster, and Bill Rose. Kat discovers the term "passive house" originated in Canada in 1978 and is excited about uncovering historical details.

Early stages of Passive House 1.0

Kat explores the early stages of passive house development in the U.S., Canada, and Scandinavia. She reflects on her initial involvement in building the first North American passive house. Kat shares insights from her detective work, including the debate between super insulation and passive solar.

The speaker discusses the evolution of passive house concepts, emphasizing the balance of elements. Kat introduces William Sherff, a physicist who played a crucial role in defining passive house principles. Sherff's predictions in 1988, including better air-to-heat exchanges and improved window R-values, are highlighted.

Passive House Murder Mystery

Kat humorously connects the evolution of passive houses to a murder mystery plot. She hints at the ongoing investigation and promises predictions for the future of passive houses. The speaker expresses excitement about uncovering hidden stories and contributions from pioneers.

Kat wraps up her presentation by expressing enthusiasm for the ongoing journey of discovering passive house history. She appreciates the audience's interest in the detective work and invites further exploration into the past, present, and future of passive building.

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