Saturday, January 15, 2011

Passive House Prototype Available for Viewing

Today I went to the official opening for the Mini-Bungalow Passive House prototype at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA). It's a 300 square foot dwelling built by students at Seattle Central Community College's Wood Construction Center. The building was designed to conform to City of Seattle requirements for a "Backyard Cottage" as a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) on a single-family lot. It is one of the first passive homes to be built in Washington State.l By contrast, over 20,000 have been built in Germany and Austria.

It is a lovely little space and is very quiet and tight. It includes an air exchanger that captures the heat and moisture of outgoing air and warms incoming air, ensuring a continuous fresh air supply. It also has R-52 insulated walls and ceiling, R-70 insulated floors, high performance windows that allow more passive solar gain than heat loss and almost complete airtight construction.

It was fun and encouraging to see an actual livable building using high-efficiency standards. I hope this is the beginning of a much bigger trend in the U.S. It certainly needs to be.

The Mini-B house will be on display for four to six months. It will be open from 10AM to 4PM on Sunday, January 30, as part of the Home Design and Remodel Fair at PNA.