West Coast Passive House Tour – Read all about it!

I am back from the most wonderful trip. I traveled down the coast and visited quite a few Passive House projects. I have been hired to write about my adventures on a new blog that the Small Planet Workshop has started. The first installment covers a wonderful Sustainable Urban Passive House Farmstead project in Eugene, Oregon. It will be absolutely stunning when complete. I was impressed with the details visible in the framing stages. Jan Fillinger designed a wonderful project and Win Swafford has worked hard to bring it to reality.

Check out the new blog at the Small Planet Workshop Website where you will see my very crowded Google map detailing my trip and read all about the Eugene, Oregon project.

Next stop – Sonoma, California and an AMAZING Passive House retrofit by Jarrod Denton, Architect, and Solar-Knights, contractor (with a bonus side trip to a Ghost town!)


Passive House – Tour de Force? No! Tour de Fun!

Hello from the road!  I am currently on my own unofficial West Coast Passive House tour and have heard of several opportunities for folks to visit an actual Passive House project, but you have to act quickly on the first two tours.  The first is an official tour that the public and West Coast Green participants are invited to attend in California.  I have visited 3 of the projects and recommend the tour for anyone who is interested in seeing what is being done in California.  For more information visit the Passive House California site.

The second opportunity I have heard about is the North Residence PH and Built Green level 5 project in Olympia, WA.  Tessa Smith, designer and fellow CPHC, has a PH project in the framing stage that is part of the Olympia Master Builders tour happening in October.  If you are interested in seeing her project, it is open to the public Oct.2-3 &  Oct. 9-10 from 11:00 am- 5:00 pm.  The address is 1114 Marion Street NE ., Olympia, WA.

The third opportunity is associated with the 5th Annual North American Passive House conference in Portland, OR.  This conference, being held Nov. 5-7 has arranged an optional excursion for conference participants to a few PH homes in the Portland area on the 7th.  For additional information, please visit the Passive House US conference page.

I have seen some fabulous projects on my trip and will be heading towards Salem, Portland, & Olympia to see several more.  I’ll be blogging about my trip on the Small Planet Workshop blog starting in October.  The idea for my trip came from the Small Planet Workshop site owner, Albert Rooks, who had read John Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charlie”.  Steinbeck, knowing he did not have long to live, decided to tour America and write about what he saw.  He took his dog Charlie, loaded up a small camper and set off.  My trip has been similar, without the dying part… or the dog.. or the camper… or 47 of the 50 states… but similar!  😉  Be sure to check out the Small Planet Workshop site and start reading about some of the fabulous Passive House projects that are happening on the West Coast.

Seattle Passive House – Rockin’ & Rollin’

The sheetrock is on the walls and soon the painters will roll on a fresh coat of paint.  Dan will be clearing the lot and a skip loader will be coming to layout the landscaping details.  The project is really shaping up.

The first pic shows the tilt and turn windows in tilt mode – good for ventilation but watch out for Fluffy – cats have been known to try to climb out them and end up getting stuck!

These next pics show the GWB in the workshop and the main house.  It is really looking sharp!

Dan wanted me to mention that he and 2 other Passive House consultants will be presenting at the NW Eco Building Guilds 10x10x10 program next week in Seattle.  10 projects will have 10 minutes to show 10 slides showing how their projects are sustainable and eco-friendly.  Dan will be talking about his Seattle Passive House, Joe Giampietro will present on his Mini-B Passive House project, and Jim Burton will present a series of Passive House concept projects that he has designed.   There will be other great projects discussed there too.   Get all the details here!

Passive House + Sustainablity + Urban Farmstead

Any way you do the math  this project makes good sustainable sense.  Not only was this building designed to Passive House standards, it is also incorporating sustainable materials into the project and sustainable practices into the landscaping.  Check out this new project by Eugene, Oregon Architect Jan Fillinger of  STUDIO – E Design on my Passive House Projects blog.  Visit the project page for The Small, Elegant and Sustainable Urban Farmstead.

Seattle Passive House – Draftless in Seattle with a .41ACH!

David Vollan of Home Performance, Inc. came out to do Dan’s 2nd blower door test today.  It was a resounding success.  The house registered a .41 ACH @ 50 pascals.  The Tectite Building Airtightness software v 3.2 projected a 121cfm for anyone wanting to know the PH Nerd Numbers.  Way to go Dan!

Dan has had some other accomplishments this past week – he passed his electrical, plumbing, and framing inspections!  He said that he noticed the draft from the positive pressure in the sewer line was blowing a continual stream of cool air through the plumbing ventilation stack and was concerned that with all the sealing he was doing, that this is a leak he could not prevent.  In Seattle homes are required to have a plumbing vent that exits the building envelope and allows the sewer gas to escape.  This is for health reasons.  AAV’s or Air Admittance Valves are another way to deal with this issue in a way that would not affect the building envelope.  Dan was told that he would not be able to do that on this project.  Another Certified Passive House Consultant, Tad Everhart has been successful in getting a code alternative allowed for his project in Oregon and he is using a combination of solutions for the negative and positive pressures that need to be addressed.  Tad used Studor AAV’s for the negative pressures and installed a 2 way valve for the positive pressure instead of the traditional plumbing stack vent.  You can see more of what Tad did regarding his PH project here.

Next up is drywall and painting while Dan works on the landscaping.  Time to make this Passive House look more like a home!

Passive House West Coast Tour – Like Steinbecks’ “Travels with Charley” only without the Charley!

I am planning a trip down the West coast next month from Seattle to California and I would love to visit some Passive House Projects along the way.  If you have a project in Washington, Oregon, or California and wouldn’t mind a curious gal with a camera popping by to see it, let me know!  I have been hired to write for a new blog that is starting in October by the Small Planet Workshop and their website relaunch.  I would love to get as much information about as many West coast projects into the blog launch article as possible.

I am currently working out plans to visit the O’Neill Residence Retrofit that Solar-Knights has just been awarded the first US Passive House Retrofit as well as the first California Passive House project certifications for.  Way to go Solar-Knights!  Be sure to check out their new project page and gallery on my Passive House Projects blog.


P.S.  I will be visiting the Seattle Passive House this week – watch for an update soon!

Another Seattle Passive House – Another Passive House Blog by me!

Announcing the Mini-B Passive House!  Mini-B stands for Mini Bungalow and was designed by Joe Giampietro, a fellow Certified Passive House Consultant.  Joe is an Architect and he took on an impressive Passive House challenge – a small structure.  Passive House uses a lot of modeling, some of which compares the volume of the house to the footprint area it takes up to determine energy usage.  The smaller the structure, the tougher the challenge.  I am happy to report that the Mini-B  has passed the blower door test with a .58ACH @ 50 Pascal and has been pre-certified by Passive House US.

Why such a small structure you may ask.  Joe planned the Mini-B to meet the Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit requirements that the city of Seattle has developed for placing an accessory dwelling on properties within the city.  More than just a fancy backyard office (though it certainly could work for that purpose!) the Mini-B is designed to be lived in.  What used to be called a “Mother-in-law” cottage, this Passive House could be used as a rental, guest cottage, office, man-cave, home away from home but not too far away from home, or just about anything you could put your mind to.

The Mini-B is plumbed to have a shower and a kitchen.  A small living area on the main floor is supplemented with 2 small loft areas above.  Obviously the intent is for  a limited amount of people, but what a great way to provide additional income for someone, or have family close by but not underfoot.

Designed with all the Passive House features, this low energy, high comfort structure will perform to Passive House standards in a sunny southern location as designed, but could be designed to fit the solar requirements of other locations.  Obviously a very shaded lot could exceed the Passive House limits for such a small structure, but the modeling before hand would assist with making it the most energy-efficient structure possible for that location.  Joe said the Mini-B could even be designed to work over a garage, though existing garages would need to be examined to see if they could support an addition.  A likely change would be to build a new garage under the Mini-B in those instances where the existing structure was not strong enough.

Joe is so passionate about this project that someone involved with it has even referred to the house as the Passion House because of the zeal and interest it has generated.  Joe was quick to point out it was not a “Love Shack”, but… 😉 So… where can you get more information and see more pictures of this Passive House marvel?  At my newest blog!  So far I just have Joe’s project listed and a link back to here for Dan’s project.  I will be updating the blog with a project page for Dan’s project real soon now.  If any other Passive House projects would like to be included on the new blog, you can contact me for additional information (LindaWhaley@ExistingResources.com ).

Click on the link to see the new blog, check out the Mini-B, and sign up to receive updates as new projects are entered.  I won’t be following projects on that blog like I have Dan’s, but I will have plenty of “Passive House nerd info” available.  Please give me feedback on additional information you would like to see there!

Visit the new blog!  http://passivehouseprojects.wordpress.com/