You’ve been hearing about the Passive House approach to the new Upper School building on the Huntsburg Campus. In fact, Hershey Montessori School’s Upper School will be the first school in the Midwest designed with Passive House Institute United States (PHIUS) criteria. Here’s a little information to clarify all the hype about this environmentally friendly and energy saving technology.
What is Passive House?
Simply put, “Passive house (German: Passivhaus) is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.” (ref Zeller, Jr., Tom. Beyond Fossil Fuels: Can We Build in a Brighter Shade of Green?, New York Times, September 26, 2010, p.BU1)
Passive Building Principles
Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. “Maximize your gains, minimize your losses” summarize the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these five building-science principles:
- It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
- The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
- It employs high-performance windows (typically triple-pane) and doors.
- It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
- Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
Image credit: By Passivhaus_section_en.jpg: Passivhaus Institutderivative work: Michka B (talk) – Passivhaus_section_en.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9586761
The Development of Passive House Principles
Passive principles were pioneered in the 1970s by North American building scientists and builders with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Canadian government. In the late 1980s the German Passivhaus Institut (PHI) built on that research and those principles, and developed a quantifiable performance standard that continues to work well in the Central European and similar climate zones. The PHIUS website offers an excellent history lesson here.
Passive House Applications
Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies–from single-family homes to apartment building to offices and skyscrapers.
Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants–to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long -term benefits in addition to energy efficiency:
- Superinsulation and airtight construction provides unmatched comfort and even in extreme conditions.
- Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air assures superb air quality.
- A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.
- Passive building is the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings. because it minimizes the load that renewables are required to provide.
The Performance Standard
In practice, the PHIUS Technical Committee and PHAUS members building projects have learned that a single standard for all North American climate zones is unworkable. In some climates, meeting the standard is cost prohibitive, in other milder zones it’s possible to hit the European standard while leaving substantial cost-effective energy savings unrealized.
Consequently, the PHIUS Technical Committee worked on adapting the performance metric to North American climate zones, using the European metric as a baseline. An overview of those climate zone specific standards is available here.
Why did we do it?
Hershey Montessori School is committed to care of the environment, and thus committed to implementing as environmentally friendly and sustainable construction principles as possible. We are proud to be the first school in the Midwest to be designed with the cutting-edge standards of the Passive House Institute of the United States. PHIUS building criteria will create significant savings in operation costs and reduce energy consumption and provide an excellent model for other public buildings.
For more information on Passive House design, visit the Passive House Institute United States website.
Sunday, April 9, 2017 from 1-3 pm
Huntsburg Campus, Hershey Montessori School
11530 Madison Road, Huntsburg, Ohio 44046
How can we best prepare our students for success?
Please join us for a fascinating afternoon to view this award winning documentary that is transforming the way we think about education. It also considers what type of educational environment is most likely to help students succeed in the 21st century. Let’s start the conversation. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Cindy Guest by phone or email: RSVP@hershey-montessori.org, (440) 357-0918 ext. 64 or by Eventbrite registration – seating is limited.
While this is not a formal open house event, tours of the Hershey Montessori Huntsburg Campus will be available following the film
Click here for more information about this event.
A preview of the film is available here.
RSVP to attend on Eventbrite, seating is limited
Childcare available for Hershey Montessori School families only. Please RSVP childcare needs to firstname.lastname@example.org
What others are saying:
“The film inspires its audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility, and is bringing communities together in re-imagining what our students and teachers are capable of doing. ” – MLTS
“…there is something special that permeates the film. It is something that educators might recognize from their own experiences – a sense of hope.” – National Math + Science Initiative
This film “…delivers a message Americans need to hear” – Huffington Post
“The 21st century is going to be all about building, creating, and innovating. This remarkable film shows a path of how we can empower all of our children to do that.” – Sal Khan, Khan Academy
The first floor construction has reached the point that the second floor can begin to rise. We are choosing floor finishes and begin to anticipate the beautiful Upper School spaces under construction. We are ever thankful to all our donors and our school community for their support in this exciting phase of Hershey Montessori School growth!
Major projects are well under way at the Huntsburg campus as part of the capital campaign. Obviously, our Upper School building is rising. But also, the “Bike Barn” has been converted to a beautiful auxiliary classroom and the Guren House has been renovated and expanded to become a 16 student Upper School dormitory.
The campaign will benefit both campuses by providing funding for projects, such as a strategic plan of growth for the Concord Campus’s increasing enrollment, raising additional funds for the endowment to increase sustainability for the whole school and to expand financial aid for students.
We are excited to be constructing a classroom building that is in alignment with our values. Care of the environment is a pillar of Hershey Montessori School’s core philosophy and includes implementing the highest respect possible for nature, the environment and sustainability. These values are reflected in the vision and building goals of the new Upper School classroom building.
Our school is the first in the Midwest being designed and built to Passive House Institute of the United States, PHIUS, strict design principles committed to reducing energy consumption in building practices. This will also create significant savings in operation costs.