Wayne was recently invite to Berlin for a design conference. One thing that struck him during his tour was the “passive house” movement.
“During a recent trip to Berlin, I was fortunate to be able to stay in a “passive house”. The house was designed by the owner/architectcs, Wolfgang Shoening and Beatrice Mosca and to my surprise it had large windows and lots of light. There is no heating plant except for a high tech fireplace that can also be used to heat hot water when the solar water panels on the roof are not able to produce what is needed. As you might imagine, the walls are extremely well insulated, and the windows are triple glazed. Window shades are on the outside of the building, keeping the sun’s heat from hitting the glass. Fresh air is constantly circulated using an air-to-air heat exchanger, minimizing loss of conditioned air to the exterior. So where does the heat come from? The answer is you. Your body produces about 100 watts per hour of radiated thermal energy, which according to the architects, utilizing meticulous envelope detailing, is enough to keep the house comfortably heated. The particular mix of energy conserving strategies aren’t suitable to every climate, but they were perfectly suited to the site. I was very impressed.”