I’ve only heard the words ‘Passivhaus is not a religion’ a couple of times in my research and I have taken note. Normally they have been uttered by people who feel threatened in some way. Perhaps it is concern over old houses being mindlessly covered in insulation during retrofits or that the Passivhaus community is keeping quiet about houses that go wrong (for example, houses that overheat in summer).
What has kept me fascinated by the Passivhaus standard is how much it has got right. I don’t think anyone is under the impression that it is perfect but I have sat through countless sessions where experts review buildings and say what could have worked better and so on. This has given me faith in the overall movement. Those who promote the Passivhaus standard are generally those who also deal in facts and are prepared to re-evaluate when new information or better methods become known.
That’s why my interview with Martin Holladay from Green Building Advisor was fascinating. I am never going to be a person who crunches the numbers or carries out experiments to see what works and what doesn’t work, but I hope I am building up trust with those that are capable of doing this. Martin by his own admission is an ‘energy nerd’ and exactly the sort of person whose opinion I seek.
In this episode we talk about the pros and cons of the Passivhaus standard, which naturally leads onto whether the standard has any global validity. Martin is clear, “Passivhaus is not a religion.” He is also against it being integrated into building codes around the world. Whether he’s right or wrong it’s certainly another view to take on board!
What I’ve tried to do more recently is to get some of the history, too, because I feel this helps me understand more about where we are today. So Martin also reflects on the first house he built for himself and tells me why the 1977 Saskatchewan Conservation House was a turning point.
Take a listen to this podcast by downloading it from iTunes. I also touch on why I got more than I bargained for on a recent business trip to Las Vegas.