If you want to hear the whole story of the Passive House (Passivhaus) movement, go straight to the source. That’s what filmmaker Charlie Hoxie did when he started to explore the Passive House movement in Europe by making a documentary about it called Passive Passion, which documents the movement of Passivhaus techniques from Europe, where they are used for everything from homes to schoolhouses to government buildings, to North America, where they are just now becoming more popular.
This film is a great introduction to how the Passive House movement began and why it has so much potential to reduce North America’s building energy consumption. By exploring the various techniques of the Passive House concepts, the film shows the potential for this type of green house plan to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 90%.
Hoxie interviews many people through the course of the film, including Wolfgang Feist, the founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, and Katrin Klingenberg, founder of the Passive House Institute of the United States. One of the biggest advantages of a Passive House, for Feist, is that it is incredibly air tight and extremely well insulated. That means you end up with a structure that doesn’t experience fluctuations in temperature but rather is very evenly heated and cooled for comfort throughout the day and from season to season. The air tightness also means there are no drafts or breezes, and no disturbances from exterior noises.
The film also explores the first true Passivehaus in the US in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a retrofit project that hopes to set an example of how to apply Passive House standards in the US to demonstrate how effective and straightforward the process can be.
You’ll also hear about how Passive House systems don’t have to cost more than conventional green house plans. In fact, because Passive Houses don’t require components like radiator systems, ductwork, and hot water heating for the entire home, tens of thousands of dollars can be saved, thereby opening up the potential for a Passive House design to actually cost less than a typical retrofit or new build project.