Timber home builder adopts Passive House approach

Timber home builder adopts Passive House approach

Long- time timber home builder New Energy Works will include Passive House principals in the design and construction phases of new homes.

Brad Hall, construction project manager at New Energy Works, recently became certified in Passive House Basics with a specialization in Building Envelope. Hall’s expertise in air sealing and the building envelope is a practice that New Energy Works has already implemented for a family home in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

“Our efforts to become more well versed in Passive House based strategies, techniques and materials represent a continuation of our long-standing commitment to building thoughtfully designed, finely crafted, thermally efficient, comfortable homes,” comments Ty Allen, AIA, Design-Build Manager at New Energy Works. “We’ve always understood the importance of constructing a high performance building envelope and are continuously educating ourselves on the latest design-build techniques.”

Passive Houses are super-insulated homes that balance a comprehensive set of factors from design through construction stages to reduce theamount of energy lost and provide superior air quality. Specific to the construction phase, a mandatory process, is the Blower Door Test which ensures a virtually airtight envelope while allowing water vapor to dry out and maintain a comfortable environment.

While the state of New York code requires less than 7 ACH50 (air changes per hour at 50 pascals), Passive House requires less than 0.6 ACH50. The blower door test performed in June on one of New Energy Works’ timber frame homes, which is nearing completion, achieved a 1.5 ACH50. This type of envelope efficiency provides comfortable, efficient, and healthy insulated environment inside the home.

The New Energy Works team looks forward to implementing and learning more about Passive House and the evolving building techniques for high-performance, energy efficient homes.

“We are excited to see how the knowledge and skills we are developing in this area will allow us to evolve in our design-build approach moving forward," Allen said.

New Energy Works Timberframers have been designing and building environmentally responsible timber frames across the USA for nearly 30 years from their facilities in New York and Oregon. Offerings include: Timber Framing (design, engineering, manufacturing, installation), Enclosure Systems, Fine Woodworking, Recycled and Sustainable wood products. New Energy Works has two LEED AP staff members, is a member of the US Green Building Council, and is FSC Certified.

Read more about Passive House design.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Audits, Healthy Homes, Passive House

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