in pursuit of energy efficient minimalism
In case you had been sleeping the last few days, there’s been a petition floating around to be delivered to PHIUS regarding their position (or is it Kat’s? Unclear…) to modify the Passivhaus standard yet maintain the Passivhaus nomenclature. The petition, The Passive House Building Energy Standard, has a simple premise…
The Passive House building energy standard is widely recognized in North America and internationally. In the United States, the standard is used by hundreds of businesses and professionals, and its criteria are maintained by a number of certifying agencies offering services across the country. In its blog post, “15kWh is dead. Long live 15kWh.”, PHIUS publicized a plan to create its own certification criteria and promote them using the Passive House name. PHIUS’s desire to innovate is commendable, and the larger conversation around potential improvements to the Passive House standard is healthy; however, having multiple standards competing under the name Passive House would create confusion and controversy. We therefore ask PHIUS to distinguish its program by giving it a distinctive name.
We signed the petition early on, as it’s a topic near and dear. So I thought it rather fortuitous that today, as Aaron and I were actively discussing aspects of Passivhaus certifications and alignments and whether certification through an organization we struggle to see as legitimate was the right or wrong way to go – Katrin unloaded this delicious dud on Richard Defendorf’s latest Green Building Advisor post titled, A Petition Strives to Defend a Certain Definition of ‘Passive House’…
“I understand that people might feel uneasy about modifications. Probably more so to those who have had little or no practical experience, which is clutch. Hayden Robinson, Mike Eliason and Bronwyn Barry, who expressed their opinions here, are to my knowledge in that group of consultants who have not had the opportunity yet to complete a Passive House project… …Again, thanks to all who contribute to constructive discussions! “
Now, I know I’ve been
libeled labeled as ‘factually challenged’ by Kat in the past, when I took umbrage with unilateral decisions. To say that was unwarranted, unexpected and unprofessional is probably an understatement, and we never received any sort of apology. It was the cause of losing our blog mojo a few months back. Legitimate Boards have dismissed fair greater leaders over lesser actions. However, the numerous letters/emails/calls and tweets of support eventually brought me back around to blogging. I’m far from the first, and I seriously doubt the last, that will be on the receiving end of that hot mess.
But it is very interesting to note two aspects of Kat’s statement. First, a petition is, actually, a form of ‘constructive discussion’. History hasn’t always been so kind to those that pretended otherwise.
Second, that only those who’ve completed a Passivhaus are the ones qualified to join said ‘discussion’. That means of the 300 or so CPHCs (whatever our designation is now) 75-80% of us don’t really have a say in it. Our energies, interests and work to date are moot/worthless. The underlying sentiment seems to be that we don’t have a clue. Hardy har har! If only we had some land, we could vote! Oy, really? This might have held some weight if it weren’t for the fact that so many of the signatories had – I dunno – actually completed Passivhaus projects! And if that’s really the case, I think there are a number of folks who’ve been severely misled and maybe due a refund from PHIUS, who has some serious splainin’ to do.
Which brings me right back to why today was fortuitous. We’re actually sitting on pre-flight certification for a project. We had been thinking PHIUS might be the right way to go. Have been all week, today, right now – just waiting for the final approval from the client. After this ridiculousness? Meh, I’m not so sure anymore. And after re-reading the Passive House Certification of Edgewaterhaus: PHI or PHIUS+? post – we’re probably at the point to rethink this. Maybe PHI certification via the Passive House Academy is the way to go. If I have to make up the difference in cost out of my own pocket, I feel it’s worthwhile. Why support an organization that is OK with denigrating and marginalizing those voices in the community with legitimate and fair questions?
So that’s what I’m thinking. Feel free to unload in the comments or shoot me an email.
Oh, and please don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t already. Cheers!
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