The one main thing I do like about Passivhaus is the ventilation system which contains an air-to-air heat exchanger and can be fitted with filtration.
This addresses one of the major problems with super-insulated and air-tight buildings, dealing with fresh air and other IAQ issues during times of temperature extremes.... when opening windows are not a good idea.

In one sense I agree with you.... we should figure out a way to provide good IAQ and fresh air using natural ventilation techniques or at least without using electricity from non-renewable resources to run a fan or two.  Sounds quite doable.

On the 'separation from nature' comment.... architecturally Passivhaus is a derivation of the old BauHaus, a seminal school for the 'Modern' architectural movement. One of their main tenants is "inside... outside" or the breakdown of barriers between nature and the 'machine for living' they defined as home.  Most of the german Passivhaus designs I've looked at address this "inside... outside" tenant.  Nature is important to them... just a very controlled version.

Your argument is better directed to our predisposition towards the pioneering American Dream of a single family house.
Yes... by our society pursuing this dream we are splintering and isolating ourselves.
Good reliable and truthful communication then becomes paramount.

Wood is a good renewable resource... until the demand exceeds the supply.
As always the best way is to need as little combustible-based heating or cooling as possible.
Highly insulate the exterior envelope, have high R-value windows and doors with weatherseals, and design in vestibules to minimize heating or cooling losses.
Maximize the use of freely renewable energy sources of sun, wind, geothermal, and small hydro.
Then use combustibles to make up the smallest margin of energy needs one can design to.

Jonathan Miller
Middlebury, VT

On Sep 23, 2009, at 12:36 PM, Robert Riversong wrote:

David's response spells out exactly why the PassiveHaus standard is the wrong "solution" to responsible and sustainable building amidst the multiple global crises we face.
What brought global human society to this "perfect storm" of cultural and ecological disaster is the techno-scientific paradigm which is built upon the premise that all problems can be solved by more sophisticated technology. Of course, the paradox (and the insanity) of this paradigm is that all our problems have been caused by increasingly complex and globally-dispersed technologies, as well as the cultural programs which both feed them and are reinforced by them. Einstein's greatest contribution to humanity was the observation that one cannot solve problems with the mindset that created them. And yet, we continue to attempt just that.
Our constant movement toward tighter and more "efficient" homes is not simply based upon the depletion and increasing cost of fossil fuels, but also on an incrementally increasing "need" for more complete isolation from the vicissitudes of the natural world. The PassiveHaus is just an extreme example of our separation from nature, which continues the age-old trend toward alienation from all that supports life on Earth. Our cultural obsession with control of nature is evidenced in our contempt for former President Carter's suggestion that we put on sweaters instead of turning up the heat, as well as the current trend toward near 100% insulation from nature and near 100% control of the private (isolated) environment.
If wood fuel is locally available and affordable (for both us and our ecology), then building houses that can easily accomodate a woodstove is a responsible and sensible approach. A house can even be built very tightly with high insulation levels and still function well with a (power-outage operable) woodstove.
The PassiveHause standard is based on a highly-sophisticated industrial approach to housing, requiring complex HVAC and control systems that are easily disrupted by any deviation from the "program". Sustainable systems are those that are easily integrated with the local ecology and which can respond flexibly to changing circumstances and lifestyles. Rigid systems are vulnerable systems and hardly sustainable since they require a profound separation from their ecology, as well as (typically) artificial industrial materials in their construction.
There is a better way, but it requires less reliance on high-tech approaches and more integration with the natural environment of which we are a part. If we are to build a sustainable world, then we need to reverse course and completely re-vision our paradigm.
- Robert Riversong

--- On Wed, 9/23/09, David Young <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: David Young <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Passivehouse in Vermont? - Wood Stove
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 10:49 AM

Thanks for that reply Jeff. For new and potential Passivehouse owners to
locate and understand appropriate technologies that can be used in a
Passivehouse is a daunting prospect. Wood burning stoves are especially
problematic if one wants to reach Passivehouse standards. Even with outside
air intake, and a small heat output, the device becomes mostly only an
aesthetic addition. When opened to load, the air balance in the Passivehouse
may become disrupted and a back-draft condition created. What little added
heat it does provide may easily overwhelm the heat/air system. A means of
dumping excess heat should be built into the mechanical system. A
comprehensive PH energy modeling should indicate the extent of the
accommodations which would be necessary in order to add a wood-burning device.

I would also highly recommend working with Peter Schneider, for many reasons.

David R Young
Eco-Logos LLC
Ecological Design & Planning
Passivehouse Consultant (in training)
[log in to unmask]" ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]

On Wed, 23 Sep 2009 10:12:26 -0400, Jeff Gephart <[log in to unmask]" ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>If you have not already discovered this thread it may be of help.
- Link to stoves with a 3 to 9 KW ratings (there was another Swedish
stove/fireplace company I saw through some Passive House reading I had done
but it appears that I failed to bookmark it). 
> -
Washington State has stricter emissions requirements than does the EPA.  You
may find their list of certified stoves useful.
>I am strapped for time today but I will look into this further later this
week.  I also forwarded on your email to Peter Schneider.  Please remember
that Peter is an excellent resource and available to assist you with
questions of this nature through your Vermont ENERGY STAR Homes enrollment.
>Kind regards,
>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
>  ----- Original Message -----
>  From: Steven & Barbara Landau
>  To: [log in to unmask]" ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
>  Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 10:26 PM
>  Subject: [VGBNTALK] Passivehouse in Vermont? - Wood Stove
>  Does anyone have a passivehouse project going in Vermont?   
>  I am working on my plans and have searched for a suitable wood stove,
with very little success.
>  We need an outside air intake, and small output. 
>  The most suitable one I found was. Tonwerks
>   from  Europe where  I can get a HW coil to remove the heat from the
stove and store it in my Domestic HW tank.
>  I would really like to find one with an Oven and Cooktop Too.      Since
the house would only need about 3KW of heat.  It is tough to find a small one.
>  --
>  Steven  Landau