Produced by Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions
Directed by Faith Morgan
Video Review by George Harvey
“Passive House Revolution” is a short video, about 45 minutes long, explaining what a passive house is and how it is built and functions. This is done by showing passive houses, both under construction and in use, with explanations from architects, contractors, and owners. It is an engaging and interesting video.
For those of us who have not been exposed to this form of building, the explanation of the passive house may come as a shock. It is too easy to hear the word “passive” and have one’s mind go to passive solar, with the implication that we already have some understanding of what is going on. The passive house is not the same thing, however. Unlike passive solar houses, which require sunlight at least from time to time to keep things going, the passive house requires nearly nothing at all, aside from the normal activity of its occupants.
If you think about this, you realize that living bodies of warm-blooded animals can serve as heating units to a structure, if the structure is insulated and sealed well enough. So can a toaster, computers, and even LED lights. In a passive house, the energy requirement has been brought to nearly nothing. What energy is needed goes for such things as ensuring adequate ventilation.
The construction techniques used to build passive houses are illustrated in the video sufficiently well that the viewer can feel comfortable with the problems and solutions at hand. Building new construction gets more attention than retrofitting old, but both are covered.
There are choices regarding living that might be reviewed and planned into the passive house. Human activity, both the ways people use different spaces and how long they spend in them, should be considered. These can guide design choices, such as how much insulation and ventilation to apply to different parts of the building.
It is clear that the people shown in the video are excited and convinced that passive house design is an important solution, perhaps the solution, to our energy problems. The principles of the passive house can form the basis of further research into facing the need to improve existing buildings to achieve the greatest efficiency possible.
This is an excellent video, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in building, retrofitting, or living in a house.
To learn more about “Passive House Revolution,” visit www.passivehouserevolution.org