The International Passive House Conference is a truly international happening with participants from all over the world. The Irish were present with some excellent presentations.
Tomas O’Leary of Mos-Art talked about the EnerPHit methodology for passive house refurbishments with practical advice. He emphasised the need for understanding of the process by all participants before the actual work commences.
Coillte Panel Products with their Air Tight OSB (Smart-Ply) from Waterford participated with a stand and made a presentation on the Smart-Ply OSB board as an air tight product in passive houses. David McHugh of Pro-Air of Tuam was spreading words of wisdom about ventilation.
Environmental impact. New from the PHI this year is that they finally seem to be a little interested in the environmental impact and energy lifecycle of the input materials used in construction of passive houses. This is great, objections to the massive usage of environmentally dubious materials in some passive houses, particularly in Germany has been raised in the past. We can only hope that they will but some focus on the complexity of heating, ventilation and other systems of some passive houses in the future. But unfortunately, Dr. Feist et all seems to be moving towards even more complexity, see next item.
New categories. Beside the established Passive House Classic, there will be the Passive House Plus and Passive House Premium classes as well. A new evaluation procedure which also considers energy generation by the building itself will serve as a basis for this. This makes the idea of a Passive house even more difficult to understand. Let us hope that this new complexity does not disencourage ordinary people from the passive house concept.
The International Passive House Conference offer a selection of bus-tours to visit various passive building projects in the region. One of the tours demonstrated two passive single family houses and two schools
It is amazing how nice the planning authorities and the local councils arrange for the individual build of privates homes here (keep in mind that this is in former DDR). The houses are built with relatively high density but with individual design and friendly sweeping streets. It feels natural and very family-friendly, human.
It is hard not to make the comparison with the British and Irish authoritarian forced uniformity with straight lines, grey concrete and generally very poor usage of the land. What is wrong in Ireland and UK? Are the planners evil or do they just lack taste, compassion and competence? Or is it some deeper cultural quirk that makes this difference?
All in all an interesting experience and a great place to learn of the latest in the technological development within the passive house world, and best of all; an opportunity to meet other passive house enthusiasts.
All the best, Passive greetings, Lars Pettersson, Scandinavian Homes, Galway