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Better than Passive House

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

The big 'green building' systems out there right now are LEED, Passive House, Living Building Challenge, and WELL certification. Each has a different focus, but I believe that they all have the same problem: each is incomplete.

Passive House is starting to show real presence across the planet. Regardless of the climate, it reduces the amount of energy used by evaluating the building envelope and the processes within.

LEED is a scorecard that ranks a building on many different criteria such as environmentally friendly products and healthy spaces, but what results in an administrative nightmare can still produce an exceptionally high-scoring building that is terrible for the environment.

Living Building Challenge tries another holistic approach to building design by addressing the building, the impact on the environment, and the impact on the indoor spaces.

WELL certification is similar in focus but with less importance placed on some material properties.

The deficiency of each of these systems is that they're designed for the climate of the twentieth century. Passive House buildings are increasingly showing overheating when occupied. Living Building Challenge encourages combustible construction. WELL and LEED both address impacts of the building. None of these prepare a building for extreme weather, flooding, or wildfires. The destruction that results from these natural disasters necessitates reconstruction and prevents the buildings from achieving the lifespan which LEED and Passive House in particular were designed to give.

Modern architecture must be designed not only to produce superior results for the spaces within and to minimize harm to the environment, but modern houses and other buildings should be designed to stand up to magnified exterior forces -- stronger winds, floods, greater snowfall, wildfire, power outages, supply chain disruptions, ice storms, derechos, etc..

My SAPPHR Strategy™ combines the best aspects of the previously mentioned design programs but adds also concepts such as post-disaster building strength. Get in touch to learn more.


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