Hi Folks


Our super insulated passive solar house in Charlotte is a LEED platinum home with an HERS score of 0.  We have been living there since August 07.  We far exceeded our energy 10 model for performance.

The house is 2700 SF and used  5750 kWh from Jan 10th  to Decemeber 20th 345 days.  That includes all of our electric cooking and about 175 kWh(converted)  wood stove . Our 10kWh net metered turbine has produced more than that for a net energy gain.


Those are real results


David Pill


From: VGBN Discussion [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ben Graham
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 10:29 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Passive Houses


Thanks for that clarification Jeff,

I think LEED has been getting flack for the reason you describe below.  People seem more interested in certification than real results, otherwise it would change.  This is basic scientific process. While you can generally rely on designs to some extent, there has been recent findings that show a more rigorous analysis is needed to actually achieve it goals. I would take this as a critique from people who are interested in the same outcome.


On 12/29/08 10:08 AM, "Jeff Gephart" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Ben et al,

A Home Energy Rating (HER) is a projection of a building's energy use and comparison of that particular building, to itself, built to the International Energy Conservation Code energy-efficiency specifications.  For all homes receiving a Home Energy Rating, building tightness is determined by a blower door test at the completion of construction and the tested tightness is a component of the Home Energy Rating score calculation.  

All homes in Vermont within LEED for Homes are certified using the Optimize Energy Performance path within the Energy & Atmosphere section of LEED for Homes.  This means that the LEED for Homes points earned for energy-efficiency are based on the home's Home Energy Rating score, which again includes air tightness results, not just design assumptions.

Results are more important than projections; however, it is my understanding that when evaluated, Vermont's Home Energy Rating projections have been demonstrated to be conservative and that consumption for heating, cooling, and water heating is more commonly slightly less than the Home Energy Rating projection.

In the U.S. I doubt we will see any shift toward awarding green building certification after a year's worth of actual energy use.  One of the primary reasons is that builders and developers want to provide buyers with certification at closing.  

Discussions between multiple stakeholders have resulted in an agreement that all homes being certified as green homes in Vermont, whether by the USGBC's LEED for Homes, the NAHB's National Green Building Standards, or BSR's Vermont Builds Greener, will have a Home Energy Rating (and must at least achieve the ENERGY STAR Home energy-efficiency as a minimum level, a threshold less efficient than Passive Haus).  So, regardless of certifying entity, all homes will have a Home Energy Rating (and blower door test) based on inspections at completion.

Passive Haus criteria are on Efficiency Vermont's radar though it isn't clear if or how they might factor into future in-state programs or services.

Jeff Gephart

Vermont ENERGY STAR Homes
  A service of Efficiency Vermont & Vermont Gas Systems
LEED for Homes
  A U.S. Green Building Council program
802-767-3861 fax
Better Buildings By Design Conference
returns to Vermont February 11-12, 2009.
Sheraton Conference Center, Burlington.
www.efficiencyvermont.com/conference <http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/conference>  

----- Original Message -----
From:  Ben  Graham <mailto:[log in to unmask]>  
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:25  PM
Subject: Re: [VGBNTALK] Passive  Houses

That’s good to know Robert.

There’s another rub  that make’s the Passive House concept different than LEED and much better for  it.  It uses actual energy usage and blower door results.  Not just  designs.
Which energy use standards were you using?  They haven’t  published standards for our climate yet.  Probably the closest ones are  the ones being developed for lapland and sweden.


On  12/28/08 10:17 PM, "Robert Riversong" <[log in to unmask]>  wrote:


Ben, et al:
I just crunched some  numbers and discovered that if I modified the superinsulated house I built  last year by increasing the south glazing by 60sf (from 138sf to 198sf),  using moderate solar heat gain triple glazed instead of double lowE”, and  replaced the exhaust only, passive inlet ventilation system with a 75%  efficient HRV, then it would have met all the PassivHaus  standards.
Maybe next time.
-  Robert

--- On Sun, 12/28/08, Ben Graham  <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Ben Graham  <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Passive Houses
To:  [log in to unmask]
Date: Sunday, December 28, 2008, 4:39  PM

  I wanted to let people know about one of the most  far reaching and
innovative energy efficiency movements in construction  called the Passive
House Movement.  It started in Germany perhaps  12-15 years ago spurred on by
the Kyoto Protocol and the German  Government.  Over 15,000 of these houses
have been built in  Central Europe and the concept is spreading fast.  There
have been  few cold climate models but there are many experiments underway.
The  idea is similar to net zero but more innovative. You can find out  more
details in the links below.

    You can  read a report of the 3rd annual Passive House Conference in the
US just  held in Duluth, MN here:

    And  you can visit the US passive house center here:

There  is even a smaller movement of building designers working on  combining
the Passive House concept with Natural  Building.

    The passive house model is based  on real use rather than designs and is
backed up with fuel use  receipts.
    If anyone knows of anyone trying a  Passive House in VT, please let me


Those who give up freedom for safety, deserve  neither.
Benjamin  Franklin

Ben  Graham
Natural building/design  services/workshops/consulting

Integrating Culture and  Nature


Those  who give up freedom for safety, deserve neither.
Benjamin  Franklin

Ben Graham
Natural building/design services/workshops/consulting

Integrating Culture and  Nature


Those who give up freedom for safety, deserve neither.
Benjamin Franklin

Ben Graham
Natural building/design services/workshops/consulting

Integrating Culture and Nature