The services we can provide are:
- Energy Modeling - At the heart of Passive House is extremely accurate thermal modeling software. We can model your construction plans and evaluate them for Passive House criteria.
- Design Consultation - We work with homeowners, architects, engineers, and builders during the planning and construction phases to ensure that energy goals are smoothly integrated with other design goals.
- Certification Management - For Passive House certification we coordinate the collection of necessary documentation and submission of the application to the Passive House Institute - US.
- General contracting - We can serve as the general contractor, coordinating the construction or retrofit process.
Our focus is on comfort, health (indoor air quality), energy savings, and
building durability. All of these are interrelated. We also can help you
assess the environmental impacts of your options because our health is
interrelated with that of all the other creatures on the planet.
Our priorities in
looking at projects are the following:
- Make sure that the living space is completely enclosed within a
continuous air-tight layer. Below grade, this will also be a
moisture/vapor/radon barrier. Unnecessary penetrations should be
eliminated. The overall plan for the project must assure that each aspect
of the implementation preserves the integrity of this "pressure
boundary" and that all connections (between basement floor and
walls, below grade to above grade walls, walls to ceiling/roof, existing
walls to addition walls, etc.) are designed to be doable. This step is
perhaps the most important factor in achieving our goals related to
health, comfort, efficiency, and durability.
- Make sure that building assemblies are designed so that any moisture
that gets into them (through building materials, water leaks, or air
leaks from the interior) can dry out before it causes problems.
- Make sure that sufficient insulation is installed in a continuous
layer, including around all the connections listed above. This
"thermal boundary" should be aligned with the pressure boundary
described above. Connections should be designed to eliminate
"thermal bridging," which often occurs when structural elements
interrupt the insulation. In a very efficient house, small thermal
bridges account for very large energy losses.
- Incorporate heat recovery ventilation in order to provide fresh air
while minimizing energy losses.
- Incorporate the simplest possible heating and cooling systems that
will allow for control of indoor humidity.
- Minimize overall energy usage through daylighting, efficient
appliances, and low energy use alternatives.
Therm is one tool we use to model heat transfer and thermal bridges in wall, foundation and roof assemblies. The figure above shows temperatures in a wall assembly at the foundation.
The Therm figure above uses a color infrared technique to show temperatures. This is the same wall assembly as the one on the left.