Exploring Passive House: A Panel Discussion
construction management, passive house, sustainability, Phius, PHI
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Passive House Panel Discussion Company Meeting 2024

Exploring Passive House: A Panel Discussion

At the firm’s annual meeting, members of the Cranshaw Construction team held a Passive House Discussion, where panelists delved into Passive House construction and its impact on the built environment. Panelists including Project Executive Andrew Bosco, Senior Project Manager Bryan Miller and Assistant Project Manager Caitlyn Kelliher who are all Phius Certified Passive House Builders (CPHBs) are working on Passive House projects in different stages of preconstruction and construction. The panel was moderated by Principal Chris Iannelli.


Defining Passive House:

Andrew kicked off the discussion by explaining that Passive House at its core is a performance-based building certification that prioritizes drastic reductions in energy demand while ensuring occupant comfort and well-being. From homes to offices, schools to commercial complexes, Passive House principles can be applied universally, offering a multitude of benefits.


Evolution and Standards:

The origins of Passive House date back to the 1970s energy crisis, with early innovations in Germany laying the groundwork for today’s standards. While originating in Europe, Passive House gained traction in the United States through organizations like Passive House International (PHI) and Phius. Today, each organization offers distinct certification pathways and modeling software with Phius’ offerings more broadly covering the diverse climatic conditions found across the United States.


Passive House in Massachusetts:

Caitlyn highlighted the journey of Passive House in Massachusetts, noting its exponential growth in the state from fewer than 20 units in 2017 to more than 6,500 units now in development. Recent legislative changes, such as the Climate Roadmap Act, have elevated Passive House to a pivotal role in achieving energy conservation goals. With the broader adoption of specialized energy codes by Massachusetts communities, Passive House is poised to become a cornerstone of sustainable construction practices across the state.


Incentives and Implementation:

Discussing the financial aspects, Caitlyn shed light on the potential energy savings and available incentives for Passive House projects. While acknowledging the upfront costs, the long-term benefits and marketability of Passive House buildings make them a prudent investment, with various governmental incentives further incentivizing adoption.


Diverse Applications:

Contrary to common misconceptions, Passive House standards extend beyond multi-family residential projects, encompassing commercial and institutional buildings as well. Caitlyn highlighted notable examples, such as a high-rise office building in downtown Boston to a school in Beverly, MA. Both showcase the versatility and efficacy of Passive House principles across diverse building uses.


Ensuring Success:

Bryan elaborated on the meticulous approach required for successful Passive House construction, starting in preconstruction and emphasizing the paramount importance of quality control at every stage. From meticulous exterior wall details to rigorous blower door tests, adherence to stringent standards ensures the attainment of Passive House certification. Ongoing training and collaboration among stakeholders further reinforce industry expertise and best practices.


Passive House represents another path towards sustainable and resilient built environments. With ongoing advancements and collective efforts, Passive House continues to spearhead a greener, more energy-efficient future for construction industries worldwide. Join Cranshaw in embracing the Passive House revolution and charting a course towards a more sustainable tomorrow.