Monday, May 2, 2011

Library lecture on Passive House design by Thorsten Chlupp

A packed audience listened to Thorsten Chlupp's lecture on superinsulated building construction and passive solar heating for homes and communities on April 20, and peppered Chlupp with questions about technical details, energy and building costs and savings, and the water systems for heat storage. The Passive House Performance Standard results in energy savings that far surpasses LEEDs and 5-star energy rated homes. Some of the details were surprising to audience members; for example, the walls in passive structures breathe, using not vapor barriers but vapor-permeable membranes. "You have to forget everything you know about building," Chlupp said. He described how Passive House construction can result in a 90% savings on heating costs compared to conventional building, even in Alaska. This design is now standard for new public buildings throughout Germany, where it has been used since the 1990s, and is spreading elsewhere in Europe also. More about Passive House building techniques, Fairbanks-area Passive Houses, and Chlupp's experience with this method can be found at the Library Lecture Series page on Chlupp's talk.
Thorsten Chlupp, local builder experienced in
Passive House Construction. Photo by Monique Musick.

An attentive audience of builders, architects, and otherwise interested listeners at the April 20 lecture by Thorsten Chlupp at Hartung Hall. Chlupp is explaining the solar heating capacity for a planned community in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, the Drake Landing Solar Community. Drake Landing's community heating system currently serves 52 homes, all from stored solar energy. Photo by Monique Musick.