Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carmel project incorporates pioneering German standards to get aggressive energy savings.


Insulation isn’t sexy, and high-performance windows and doors probably won’t set anyone’s toes-a-tingling either. But opening up an energy statement and seeing at least an 80 percent drop in the bill?
That’s some swoon-worthy stuff right there.
Eighty percent – and as much as 90 percent – is the reduction promised when using a building method pioneered in Germany, and it’s the method a pair of husband-and-wife property owners plan to use in constructing their own home (“not quite a place to retire, but close to it,” says the husband, hotelier Mica Hill) in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Called Passivhaus (for “passive house”) in Germany, the term refers to a set of voluntary building standards that combine insulation and sealing, high-performance windows and doors, and mechanical ventilation. The house essentially heats and cools itself by passive solar gain, and indoor air quality is kept high through an energy recovery ventilator. In chillier climates, a smaller than usual, ancillary heating system might be used as well.
The Hill house, once completed about a year from now, will be the first certified Passivhaus in Monterey County, and only the second certified in California. The first project in the state is part of an affordable and energy-efficient rental project under construction in Pt. Reyes Station.
As of August 2010, there had been only a dozen Passivhaus homes built in the U.S., but dozens more were in planning stages.
The point of the Passivhaus process is to make the house air tight, to seal what builders call “the envelope” between the inside and outside, and minimize energy loss. Programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system prescribe a holistic approach to building; Passivhaus is exclusively about energy.
“You kind of have to be a dumbass to say [insulation] is exciting, but this is so obtainable and accessible that it is actually exciting,” says the Hills’ contractor, Carmel Building & Design President Rob Nicely. “This is no wild or foreign technology, it’s doing a better job of what we try to do in the first place. The important thing here is retaining the heat.”
And the energy reduction promised is that: a promise. Follow the directions, and the tightness of the seal can be measured.
“The goal is when you close the front door, the toilet should flush,” Hill jokes.
Dreaming of Real Estate
Hill and his wife, physician and academic Laureen Hill, grew up in Paso Robles and started spending significant time in the Monterey area more than 25 years ago because of his career as a hotelier, first with Huntington Hotels and now with the Preferred Hotel Group (properties include the Inn at Spanish Bay, the Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Post Ranch Inn).
“We were 25 years old and said, ‘Let’s save our money and buy a second house.’ We saw this dumpy little cottage, called the agent and the agent said, ‘$920,000.’” Hill says. “And we said, ‘That can’t be right, this place is a dump.’”
But they kept returning to Carmel, in love with the community overall and the fine-arts scene in particular. Hill bought sculptural works from Richard MacDonald to place in San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, and the couple also began privately collecting the work of other local artists.
When the recession hit in 2007, they started thinking in earnest about where they should settle – if they settle at all – when retirement age drew near.
“We took a cue from our parents and watched what they did. It was a question of, ‘Where can we go where we can walk to the store, and the doctor and church?’ and my wife said, ‘I think we can swing [Carmel],’” Hill says. They looked at about 30 places and settled on a circa-1929 cottage on 11th between Lincoln and Dolores streets.
The first night they slept there after buying it last June, Hill says they nearly froze because the place leaked like a sieve. It was a depressing moment, he says, because while they wanted to try to rehab the house, there was so much wrong with it that it made more sense to start over, tear the place down and build something both livable and meaningful.
“We didn’t want some monument to ourselves. We met with builders and architects, and told each we wanted to do things that were responsible and meaningful and energy efficient. We started throwing out those buzzwords, and Rob’s a good listener,” Hill says. “He kept following up. We felt like he was going to build our house, while other builders were going to build their house.”
Hill says his father was a general contractor, and hiring Nicely felt like hiring his dad.
Passiv Aggressive
Nicely admits those sustainable buzzwords bandied about by the Hills caught his attention. He uses the “Build It Green” program (call it LEED for residential building) as an overlay on many projects. But he became intrigued by Passivhaus because of its focus on energy alone.
“This is what will kill us first or ruin society, whether its global warming or peak oil… it’s energy,” Nicely says. “It has the single biggest impact. Everyone is aware of trying to make vehicles more efficient, and this is doing the same for the built environment.”
The key for designer Justin Pauly of Pauly Designs in Monterey was designing a house that could incorporate all of the efficiencies Passivhaus requires while reconciling the desires of the clients and the demands of the city. Within the mandatory 1,600-square-foot size, plus 200 square feet for a garage, Pauly designed a modern farmhouse that keeps a large grove of redwoods in place on the north end of the property, and adds more insulation in the ceiling to compensate for the lack of glazing on the north-facing windows.
“They wanted to have a surpassingly green house, and they left it to me to come up with the protocol,” Nicely says. In total, the Passivhaus requirements might add $20,000 to a $600,000 project, but that money comes back quickly in terms of savings on energy bills.
The Hill project reached an important milestone in early March. The City of Carmel Design Review Commission (the five-member group that judges whether a design will fit into the community) voted 4-0, with one abstention, to approve the design.
Next up is submitting the engineering drawings and construction plans. Sometime in the next few months, the original house will be torn down and construction on the new home will commence. Nicely expects to finish the project by March 2012.
“We’ve always watched things like our water and electric consumption, and then Rob educated us,” Hill says. “We’re not going to build green for the sake of green, we’re going to do things that are respectful to the earth.”
Nicely seems like the last person in the world whose focal point would become the green revolution. He says he’s just a guy who started building houses, wanted to get better at it and tumbled into what he now describes as a moral imperative.
“It started as ‘How can I learn more about building?’ and this is what it’s turned into,” Nicely says. “The people who ask me for it have decided their world view has to include the health of the whole system, starting with their own environment, then the community and the world.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We are part of this tour with our Passive House

Half Day Tours

Friday, October 7
1-5 p.m.
$45 early/$65 late

HD01 Water & Gold: Toronto’s New Office Buildings and the Enwave Deep Lake Cooling System

This walking tour will take you to two of Toronto's newest office towers, the RBC Centre and 18 York Street, as well as a plant tour of the Enwave Deep Lake Cooling System. Tour participants will explore the range of innovative features in the next generation of Toronto’s office towers and will also examine the important role water plays in making these buildings, and the city, more sustainable.

HD02 Healthcare Facilities: Building the Future with a Community Connection

This tour highlights two healthcare facilities in contrasting settings and stages of development. Built in 2005, the Peel Regional Cancer and Ambulatory Care Centre at the Credit Valley Hospital in suburban Mississauga selected wood for its structural and economic properties to create a spectacular atrium structure which was constructed of glue laminated wooden members and embedded steel connections. Working directly with OBC staff and the Ontario Fire Marshal, specific technologies were incorporated to achieve compliance ratings and illustrate that wood is an acceptable design and performance equivalent to steel.

The historic Don Jail, an architectural icon for the City of Toronto will be preserved and incorporated into the design of Bridgepoint Hospital, which is currently under construction. The concept of AFP (P3) is not new, however, as used on this project, this Infrastructure Ontario delivery model allows for the construction of complex facilities that will bring Canadian communities into the NEXT generation. Participants will visit the active construction site for this LEED candidate and learn about the issues that can arise during different phases in the construction process. Although these healthcare facilities are at different stages in the evolution of green building, they share a common objective: to be a rallying point that fosters learning and understanding and reflects the needs and values of the community.

HD03 Living City Campus Tour

Living City Campus is Canada's largest education, demonstration and evaluation centre on green buildings and sustainable energy technologies. The Campus is home to the Restoration Services Building, the Earth Rangers Centre and the Kortright Centre. The Restoration Service Building is Ontario's first LEED Platinum facility; the Earth Rangers is a LEED Gold facility, which implemented North America’s first use of earth tubes and has over 90 kw of photovoltaic panels; and the Kortright Centre, which operates two LEED Platinum demonstration homes, a renewable energy demonstration site with photovoltaic and wind turbine test facilities through its Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program. 

All four buildings are fully monitored, which allows the campus to inform its visitors about lessons learned and best practices for both residential and commercial buildings. Every year over 200,000 students, educators, homeowners, builders, and researchers visit our facilities to see and learn about the best practices in green buildings and renewable energy technologies.

HD04 Keeping it Green – the Evolution of Office Buildings in Canada's Financial District

This walking tour showcases some of the largest office buildings in Canada and demonstrates their commitment and progress in improving environmental performance and occupant satisfaction. The market for Class A buildings has been highly competitive in the core. Environmental responsibility has rapidly become a key concern for their major tenants and businesses and the owners of these buildings, some close to 40 years old, have responded. 

This tour will highlight past, present and future initiatives developed to reduce negative environmental impacts and energy costs while simultaneously improving amenities, often in partnership with major tenants. These buildings are participating in the nation’s leading green rating and improvement programs, including LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, CaGBC’s Green Up program, BOMA BESt, Greening Greater Toronto’s Race to Reduce and Green to Great. Getting involved in these initiatives has helped position the buildings as green leaders in the leasing marketplace. 

This tour will provide attendees with a look at the state-of-the-art solutions and programs implemented at every level, from capital investments, such as the re-cladding of a 72-story office building, to technologies for operations and management, to tools for tenant engagement.

HD05 Builders and Educators: Partners in Innovation

The result of an innovative public/private partnership between Tridel and the Toronto District School Board, this project involves an integrated development of two residential condominium buildings and the replacement of an existing historic school building with a new 156,000 square foot school. The tour will also visit the Rêve Condominium development and its Eco-Suite, which has been completely finished with enviro-friendly materials, appliances and décor. 

The Republic Towers and the adjacent LEED Gold school will show case innovation in energy conservation and sustainable community development. Both the condominiums (targeting LEED NC Silver) and school (targeting LEED NC Gold) use advanced strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce water consumption, and promote long term sustainability. Heritage elements from the original school were salvaged and reused in the new courtyard and an extensive green roof over the school increases green space. Innovative green loan financing based on utility payback and life cycle were used to enable green measures.

HD06 Art Galleries of Distinction
This tour is designed to explore the notion of Art and Architecture. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection both serve as a statement to the design of buildings while reflecting upon its unique ability to showcase Art collections. These buildings are a perfect example of what can be achieved through proactive design and the challenges of retrofitting existing buildings. 

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is home for much of the artwork created by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, the natural surroundings of the Humber Valley are a fitting complement. The building is LEED Canada Existing Buildings:Operations & Maintenance Silver certified. The AGO is located in an urban setting in downtown Toronto. The carefully crafted spaces (Galleria Italia, South Tower, Walker Court and Spiralling Staircases) by Frank Gehry enhance the urban feel of this gallery while creating a sense of balance in an existing neighbourhood.

HD07 Lakefront Transformation: Port Credit Village Mixed Use Community

Port Credit Village is a brownfield redevelopment that enhances an established main street in the City of Mississauga. Port Credit Village is a sustainable, mixed-use,TOD community. This tour will visit the many phases of development including residential townhomes in a New Urbanism community design including a number of innovative live/work units; and a mixed-use development with commercial, office, mid-rise residential condominiums and a urban parkette. 

The third and final phase comprises of a 22-story LEED-registered residential condominium and a 6-story seniors retirement building. Port Credit Village sits on the shores of Lake Ontario and is near to a regional GO commuter train station. Port Credit Village has received numerous local and provincial urban design awards as well as being a finalist in ULI's The Americas awards. Port Credit Village is a featured Ontario's Paces to Grow Urban Form Case study and a CMHC' TOD Case Study.

HD08 Green Meeting Places: New Sustainability Meets Historic Significance

Exhibition Place is Canada's largest entertainment venue, attracting over 5.3 million visitors a year. The site was originally developed in the 19th century, with today’s site having a mix of protected heritage buildings alongside new development. Located on the 192-acre Exhibition Place site is the award-winning Direct Energy Centre, Canada's largest exhibition and convention facility, and the LEED-registered Allstream Centre, a conference centre opened in 2009. Since 2004 Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, entitled GREENSmart. 

The tour begins in Direct Energy Centre with a presentation on the innovative technologies and green initiatives found at Exhibition Place and the modern Direct Energy Centre. This presentation is followed by a physical tour of various technologies across the grounds: the tri-generation plant, geothermal system, PV systems, back-pressure steam turbine and green roofs. The tour finishes at the Allstream Centre, originally known as the historic, 1920s Automotive Building. The Allstream Centre features reflective roofing, a rainwater cistern for toilet flushing, a system for monitoring air quality for CO2 and VOCs, and LED fluorescent lighting on a specialized control system.

HD09 Designing the 'Sustainable Office Space'

With different leadership, stakeholders, values, programs, and markets, creating a sustainable office space has many challenges. This tour examines organizational interpretations and adaptations of the core principles of sustainability within the tenant office work environment. We will showcase three downtown projects that utilized the LEED for Commercial Interiors (Platinum and Gold) certification framework as a baseline mechanism to assist in the pursuit of uniquely functional, collaborative, adaptive, low-impact and efficient work environments. No one size fits all; and tour will offer insight into the nuances, similarities and differences in their green strategies.

HD10 Building High Performance Infill Retrofit Homes

There are approximately 7 million existing homes in Canada, many of which do not meet today’s building code standards for energy efficiency. As utility rates rise, there is a greater focus on sustainable renovations and remodeling of our existing houses to significantly reduce the country’s GHG emissions. 

This tour focuses on three designers and builders who have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability by renovating their own homes as a model for others. Visit two homes that use the Passive House concept and one targeting LEED for Homes Silver. See sustainable features such as grey water and rain water harvesting, a PAUL heat recovery system, and a green roof.

HD11 Towers of Power: Innovations in Housing for Seniors

This tour showcases two exciting examples of innovative housing solutions for seniors. Brampton’s Chapelview is officially the first affordable housing complex in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The project is a 16-story housing development that provides 200 units featuring wood and doors produced from wheat-based products, spray foam insulation made from soya and recycled plastic bottles, 100 percent recycled drywall, high-efficiency toilets and ventilation systems, and a roof made from green materials. 

Villa Colombo Vaughan is a new long-term care facility that incorporates residential form and domestic scale set against a dramatic natural landscape within the historic Village of Kleinburg. The project’s sustainability features are what stand out most here and are worthy of distinction. The project boasts the first-of-its-kind in Ontario natural gas co-generation system which will allow the facility to run off-grid producing its own energy. The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Energy have proclaimed this a benchmark facility for its level of performance excellence.

HD12 Green Cuisine

This tour highlights three different food-related facilities all committed to sustainable business. Green Grind Café is a small independent community coffee shop built on an extremely tight budget that serves fair trade/organic coffee, runs on Bullfrong Green Power in a LEED-certified building, while donating 1 percent for the Planet.A top tier landlord at the Eaton Centre Food Court worked with tenants through its renovations to establish a zero waste environment and save more than 50 percent in water and electricity. Café Belong at Evergreen Brickworks is a restaurant with a celebrity chef using sustainable purchasing practices, custom nose-to-tail butchery, all scratch based cooking, on-site water filtration and bottling, composting, and biodegradable take-away packaging.

HD13 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

The green roofs and walls on this tour provide excellent examples of integrated design that improve the quality of life for inhabitants of the building and for the surrounding community. One of the more important features of a green roof or wall is its ability to enhance other sustainable features. From providing food and biodiversity in an urban setting, to enhancing a building’s air quality and improving on-site sustainable energy production, green roofs and walls provide dynamic and aesthetically pleasing components to green buildings. These projects are all uniquely Canadian through their location (both interior and exterior) and a hardy plant selection, as well as their functions and required maintenance through the various seasons of Toronto.

HD14 Production Housing: Transforming the New Housing Market

Visit three production housing developments and see how Canadian home builders are integrating green and producing affordable, high performance homes that are healthier, more comfortable and energy efficient and better for the environment. See how third party performance rating systems, including LEED for Homes, ENERGYSTAR® for New Homes and GreenHouse™ Certified Construction, are being applied and marketed. 

The Heathwood Green Home is a demonstration model home that uses a state-of-the-art energy monitoring system to gauge every aspect of the home’s energy performance. In partnership with Ryerson University, a study of the Green Home’s energy efficiency and environmentally friendly features is being conducted, providing a true cost benefit analysis that will help educate both new home builders and buyers. The Minto Saunders Model Home was the first production built home to be LEED-certified in Canada achieving Silver certification. The McKenzie model home achieved Gold certification. Harvest Hills homes are being built as an ENERGYSTAR® community. The EcoLogic subdivision, named Canada's greenest residential community is the first development in Canada to be built entirely to LEED Platinum specifications. 

HD15 High-Rise Multi-Unit Residential Case Study Tour

Toronto has one of the greatest concentrations of high-rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURB) in North America. These buildings house over one third of the city's population and are responsible for over 40 pecent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions. Providing high density housing, these buildings are an important resource that must be carefully managed with respect to energy consumption. This tour showcases four MURBs that have undergone energy saving retrofits.

HD16 Affordable Green Home: Greenbuild Legacy Home Project

A place in the program has been reserved to tour the Greenbuild Legacy Home Project built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Cement Association of Canada. Additional details will be available soon! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A 60m² passive house is heatable with 16 tea lights

2011. June 20. Monday 08:23 Age: 22 days

Passive house

A 60m² passive house is heatable with 16 tea lights

The above-mentioned astonishing data was notified at the conference „Energy-efficiency in buildings, passive house standard” last week.
The following writing with the titel „The passive house gives evidence permanently” gives further curiosities about the passive house topic.
Europe-wide 32 thousand passive houses have already proved that the energy-consumption and the carbon-dioxide emission is reducible by 80-95% in exchange for some minimal extra costs while ensuring the high level of comfort.
Nowadays there are 32 thousand passive houses in Europe with 13,9 million squaremeter of useful area. These save 175 million euros of energy-costs yearly and reduce the carbon-dioxide emission by 200 thousand tons. 800 of the building stand have been built by recovery, 17% of the total useful area is in public buildings. 46 thousand flats have been built Europe-wide by the technologically long sophisticated and thousand times approved technology. The oldest passive house in Darmstadt celebrates its 20th birthday this year – Sariri-Baffia Enikő – passive house qualifier and tutor and manager of the Energy Planer Team - gave the data before the 15th passive house conference which was held on the 27-28th May in Innsbruck.
The passive house is a real win-win strategy: beside the value creation the users and the investors win the low maintenance costs and the high comfort, the society wins the decreasing of the dependence on the energy-import. This is the key to success – declares Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Feist, docent at the Innsbruck University and leader of the for energy efficient constructions.
The public buildings of 27 European regions have already been executed as passive houses, this applies to 25 million inhabitants. This also proves that this outstanding building-standard is successful all over the world – underlines Sariri-Baffia Enikő. The passive house standard already fulfills the „nearly zero energy building” requirement of the EU, which is going to be binding for all new buildings in the member states from 2021 according to the plans. And the remaining energy-demand can be covered without any difficulty by renewable energy-sources.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Passive House Scraped by City Hall of North York

Today is the day when North York City hall scraped our plans for a Passive House
It sure looks like Canada is a long way to accept new technological and Ideas
Not much has changes in Building house in Canada for the last 100 year build them
cheap and fast use the least amount of Insulation.

Sunday, July 3, 2011



The southern German city that attracts millions of tourists every year, is now richer by a sensation, because in the Baden-Württemberg, Freiburg, Germany is the first high-rise that reached by the redevelopment design, respectively. Due to the good thermal insulation and the interaction of various system components in the summer and winter, neither heating nor cooling is needed classic. The used window profile systems from REHAU Geneo Profile significantly reduce heat loss to the outside and thus make a decisive contribution to the energy balance of the building.