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Re: Passive Houses for indoor temperature control

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  • Ron Wolf
    I was amazed that its possible to build homes that need no heating plant in a place as cold as Darmstadt. So I looked into a bit further. I found two things
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 16, 2009
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      I was amazed that its possible to build homes that need no heating
      plant in a place as cold as Darmstadt. So I looked into a bit further.
      I found two things that might be of interest to the group:

      - Perhaps already well known by others here that, in addition to being
      known for fully passive housing, Darmstadt is also known for care free
      development. From
      http://www.sustainabilityproductions.com/maison_passive.htm -
      "Darmstadt, in Germany, created an experimental neighbourhood called
      K6 in which car traffic is prohibited. Residents benefit from a lot
      of public green spaces. In this neighbourhood, there are already 72
      passive homes, and some 50 others are currently being built. The
      other dwellings in the neighbourhood are low-energy homes."

      - Austria (where I am right now) is also a leader in the passive house
      movement. More on that in the previous link as well as a report here -
      http://www.folkecenter.net/default.asp?id=33339 - on a passive house
      conference that had sold out attendance of 1,000. And a very
      informative report on existing multi-family housing here -
      http://www.irbdirekt.de/daten/iconda/CIB7853.pdf.

      So at least in Germany and Austria the passive house movement has some
      momentum. Seems that the car free movement could benefit from this in
      several ways:

      - looking at how/why the passive house movement is gaining actual
      investment and progressing in contrast to the long lingering
      dreaming/hoping of the car free movement.

      - recognizing that people interested in passive will have substantial
      overlap with those interested in car free. Perhaps the movements could
      be somehow joined?

      - recognizing that multi-family housing favors both lower energy use
      and car free transportation, bringing multi-family into the car free
      idea as a primary facilitator.

      As I've observed here before, Vienna is largely multi-family with
      typical buildings being 3-4 stories. This density (not to much, not
      too little) helps to support the charming, effective, and heavily used
      tram system. Now if they could just do more to stop the increasing
      penetration of the auto....

      __________Ron



      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Miller
      <christophermiller@...> wrote:
      >
      > A New York Times article on "Passive houses" whose heating is based on
      > energy efficiency rather than extensive energy use for heating.
      >
      > http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/world/europe/27house.html?em
      >
      -----------deletage-------------
    • chbuckeye
      ... One possible factor, particularly in the U.S., is that we have now had many decades of advertising to build expectations of the ideal life as suburban
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 16, 2009
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        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Wolf" <ronetele13@...> wrote:
        > - looking at how/why the passive house movement is gaining actual
        > investment and progressing in contrast to the long lingering
        > dreaming/hoping of the car free movement.
        >
        > - recognizing that people interested in passive will have substantial
        > overlap with those interested in car free. Perhaps the movements could
        > be somehow joined?
        >
        > - recognizing that multi-family housing favors both lower energy use
        > and car free transportation, bringing multi-family into the car free
        > idea as a primary facilitator.


        One possible factor, particularly in the U.S., is that we have now had
        many decades of advertising to build expectations of the ideal life as
        suburban sprawl. Apartment or city living is seen as being unpleasant
        due to closer proximity to unpleasant neighbors.

        The passive house movement alleviates one source of friction with
        close neighbors -- noise. The superior insulation not only greatly
        slows heat transfer, but it also blocks almost all noise from a
        neighbor. Perhaps that has won some converts.

        Another factor is that the passive house allows most people to
        continue living with the same habits and behaviors as before, while
        saving money over time due to lower heating and cooling costs.
        Suburbanites see carfree living as requiring a change in behavior, and
        so are reluctant to truly consider it, even if it would bring monetary
        savings from not having a car. Monetary savings without having to
        change behavior is much more attractive.

        Finally, the US truly has a terrible transit system outside of its
        roadways. The US has seen decades of car-centric development,
        occupies a large area, and most of the US lacks quality public
        transit. Americans typically have family and friends scattered all
        over the country, as younger people pursue jobs and older people
        escape the snow for warmer climates. Without an adequate train
        system, the only choice for travel is by air (expensive, unpleasant,
        subject to unpredictable winter weather, often impractical for
        transporting a large amount of furniture or Christmas gifts, etc.) or
        by the convenience and go-anywhere, go-anytime ability of their car,
        even in the face of long distances. I think many Americans are afraid
        to give up their car because it would really constrain their travel to
        close family and friends. Someday the world's demand for their share
        of the oil will change that, but until we build a quality rail network
        to provide comfortable and timely travel few truly carfree
        developments will be built.

        I see these European passive house developments as providing some hope
        for the US, however. If properly constructed and organically grown,
        they probably would provide the basis for becoming wonderful carfree
        cities in the future. For example, by building parking garages at the
        perimeter and extending rail through the city, rail can become more
        convenient. As the rail network becomes more extensive, the car is
        needed less and less. Perhaps if we design the parking garage for
        future conversion to other use, such as a warehouse, for example, then
        the passive house movement truly could be a step on the path to
        carfree cities. It certainly seems like it would have a better chance
        of mainstream adoption in the US than going straight to carfree
        cities, which would require an immediate change in behavior patterns.
      • Ron Wolf
        chbukeye, Your reply to my question as to why passive solar seems to be gaining momentum more easily than Car Free was very well thought out and articulate. My
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 18, 2009
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          chbukeye,

          Your reply to my question as to why passive solar seems to be gaining
          momentum more easily than Car Free was very well thought out and
          articulate. My eyes are opened, in a helpful way. Thank you.

          Thinking of your observation that "we have now had many decades of
          advertising to build expectations of the ideal life", I got a laugh of
          recognition in reading a recently republished Dave Barry column that
          speaks to the influence of advertising in putting pickup truck
          ownership high on the list of needs of many American males.

          Truck ads: Like a crock --->

          http://www.miamiherald.com/living/columnists/dave-barry/story/838256.html

          Might as well laugh.... And, as a American, though, perhaps, a
          relatively enlightened one, I am still amazed by how the typical Euro
          lifestyle of comparatively small living spaces in close the close
          quarters of multi-family buildings seems to make no difference to the
          good attitude and happiness of the population in general. On the
          contrary people here seem to be more happy and less pissed off than
          the typical American suburban dweller who is busily isolating in
          relative luxury....

          Is it possible to spread this vision?

          ___________________Ron


          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "chbuckeye" <coleridge3150@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Wolf" <ronetele13@> wrote:
          > > - looking at how/why the passive house movement is gaining actual
          > > investment and progressing in contrast to the long lingering
          > > dreaming/hoping of the car free movement.
          > >
          > > - recognizing that people interested in passive will have substantial
          > > overlap with those interested in car free. Perhaps the movements could
          > > be somehow joined?
          > >
          > > - recognizing that multi-family housing favors both lower energy use
          > > and car free transportation, bringing multi-family into the car free
          > > idea as a primary facilitator.
          >
          >
          > One possible factor, particularly in the U.S., is that we have now had
          > many decades of advertising to build expectations of the ideal life as
          > suburban sprawl. Apartment or city living is seen as being unpleasant
          > due to closer proximity to unpleasant neighbors.
          >
          > The passive house movement alleviates one source of friction with
          > close neighbors -- noise. The superior insulation not only greatly
          > slows heat transfer, but it also blocks almost all noise from a
          > neighbor. Perhaps that has won some converts.
          >
          > Another factor is that the passive house allows most people to
          > continue living with the same habits and behaviors as before, while
          > saving money over time due to lower heating and cooling costs.
          > Suburbanites see carfree living as requiring a change in behavior, and
          > so are reluctant to truly consider it, even if it would bring monetary
          > savings from not having a car. Monetary savings without having to
          > change behavior is much more attractive.
          >
          > Finally, the US truly has a terrible transit system outside of its
          > roadways. The US has seen decades of car-centric development,
          > occupies a large area, and most of the US lacks quality public
          > transit. Americans typically have family and friends scattered all
          > over the country, as younger people pursue jobs and older people
          > escape the snow for warmer climates. Without an adequate train
          > system, the only choice for travel is by air (expensive, unpleasant,
          > subject to unpredictable winter weather, often impractical for
          > transporting a large amount of furniture or Christmas gifts, etc.) or
          > by the convenience and go-anywhere, go-anytime ability of their car,
          > even in the face of long distances. I think many Americans are afraid
          > to give up their car because it would really constrain their travel to
          > close family and friends. Someday the world's demand for their share
          > of the oil will change that, but until we build a quality rail network
          > to provide comfortable and timely travel few truly carfree
          > developments will be built.
          >
          > I see these European passive house developments as providing some hope
          > for the US, however. If properly constructed and organically grown,
          > they probably would provide the basis for becoming wonderful carfree
          > cities in the future. For example, by building parking garages at the
          > perimeter and extending rail through the city, rail can become more
          > convenient. As the rail network becomes more extensive, the car is
          > needed less and less. Perhaps if we design the parking garage for
          > future conversion to other use, such as a warehouse, for example, then
          > the passive house movement truly could be a step on the path to
          > carfree cities. It certainly seems like it would have a better chance
          > of mainstream adoption in the US than going straight to carfree
          > cities, which would require an immediate change in behavior patterns.
          >
        • spenniec
          Is it possible to spread the vision? In the same way that the ads are teling us we don t have enough, we aren t happy until we have ???, we are inferior etc (a
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 18, 2009
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            Is it possible to spread the vision?

            In the same way that the ads are teling us we don't have enough, we
            aren't happy until we have ???, we are inferior etc (a solution to not
            buying a pickup is dont' watch TV!), we will probably need the same
            advertisers and media to sell Passive Houses, car free cities etc.

            A reason why the Passive House movement is gaining momentum is because
            it actually works. Buildings that take advantage of the sun to heat,
            are superinsulated and airtight to reduce heat losses require more
            thought at the design stage and more money spent on the build so the
            investment is long term, not short term.
            We are constantly thinking in the short term.
            It's pretty natural to ask what's in it for me?
            How do you sell long term thinking. Can you sell it?

            Spencer

            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Wolf" <ronetele13@...> wrote:
            >
            > chbukeye,
            >
            > Your reply to my question as to why passive solar seems to be gaining
            > momentum more easily than Car Free was very well thought out and
            > articulate. My eyes are opened, in a helpful way. Thank you.
            >
            > Thinking of your observation that "we have now had many decades of
            > advertising to build expectations of the ideal life", I got a laugh of
            > recognition in reading a recently republished Dave Barry column that
            > speaks to the influence of advertising in putting pickup truck
            > ownership high on the list of needs of many American males.
            >
            > Truck ads: Like a crock --->
            >
            >
            http://www.miamiherald.com/living/columnists/dave-barry/story/838256.html
            >
            > Might as well laugh.... And, as a American, though, perhaps, a
            > relatively enlightened one, I am still amazed by how the typical Euro
            > lifestyle of comparatively small living spaces in close the close
            > quarters of multi-family buildings seems to make no difference to the
            > good attitude and happiness of the population in general. On the
            > contrary people here seem to be more happy and less pissed off than
            > the typical American suburban dweller who is busily isolating in
            > relative luxury....
            >
            > Is it possible to spread this vision?
            >
            > ___________________Ron
            >
            >
            > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "chbuckeye" <coleridge3150@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Wolf" <ronetele13@> wrote:
            > > > - looking at how/why the passive house movement is gaining actual
            > > > investment and progressing in contrast to the long lingering
            > > > dreaming/hoping of the car free movement.
            > > >
            > > > - recognizing that people interested in passive will have
            substantial
            > > > overlap with those interested in car free. Perhaps the movements
            could
            > > > be somehow joined?
            > > >
            > > > - recognizing that multi-family housing favors both lower energy use
            > > > and car free transportation, bringing multi-family into the car free
            > > > idea as a primary facilitator.
            > >
            > >
            > > One possible factor, particularly in the U.S., is that we have now had
            > > many decades of advertising to build expectations of the ideal life as
            > > suburban sprawl. Apartment or city living is seen as being unpleasant
            > > due to closer proximity to unpleasant neighbors.
            > >
            > > The passive house movement alleviates one source of friction with
            > > close neighbors -- noise. The superior insulation not only greatly
            > > slows heat transfer, but it also blocks almost all noise from a
            > > neighbor. Perhaps that has won some converts.
            > >
            > > Another factor is that the passive house allows most people to
            > > continue living with the same habits and behaviors as before, while
            > > saving money over time due to lower heating and cooling costs.
            > > Suburbanites see carfree living as requiring a change in behavior, and
            > > so are reluctant to truly consider it, even if it would bring monetary
            > > savings from not having a car. Monetary savings without having to
            > > change behavior is much more attractive.
            > >
            > > Finally, the US truly has a terrible transit system outside of its
            > > roadways. The US has seen decades of car-centric development,
            > > occupies a large area, and most of the US lacks quality public
            > > transit. Americans typically have family and friends scattered all
            > > over the country, as younger people pursue jobs and older people
            > > escape the snow for warmer climates. Without an adequate train
            > > system, the only choice for travel is by air (expensive, unpleasant,
            > > subject to unpredictable winter weather, often impractical for
            > > transporting a large amount of furniture or Christmas gifts, etc.) or
            > > by the convenience and go-anywhere, go-anytime ability of their car,
            > > even in the face of long distances. I think many Americans are afraid
            > > to give up their car because it would really constrain their travel to
            > > close family and friends. Someday the world's demand for their share
            > > of the oil will change that, but until we build a quality rail network
            > > to provide comfortable and timely travel few truly carfree
            > > developments will be built.
            > >
            > > I see these European passive house developments as providing some hope
            > > for the US, however. If properly constructed and organically grown,
            > > they probably would provide the basis for becoming wonderful carfree
            > > cities in the future. For example, by building parking garages at the
            > > perimeter and extending rail through the city, rail can become more
            > > convenient. As the rail network becomes more extensive, the car is
            > > needed less and less. Perhaps if we design the parking garage for
            > > future conversion to other use, such as a warehouse, for example, then
            > > the passive house movement truly could be a step on the path to
            > > carfree cities. It certainly seems like it would have a better chance
            > > of mainstream adoption in the US than going straight to carfree
            > > cities, which would require an immediate change in behavior patterns.
            > >
            >
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