Posts tagged ‘Passive House’

January 20, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile – Bethesda Passive House

Peter Evans Photography

Peter Evans Photography

Bethesda, Maryland, a northwest suburb of Washington, DC enjoys mild winters but endures oppressive summers. As a result, the challenge when planning the area’s first certified Passive House project was installing a system that could handle these hot, humid summers, even in a tight space. The design team selected our S-Series system to answer that need.

The neighborhood produced an additional challenge: aesthetics. Bethesda is full of high-end neighborhoods, so choosing a system that could match the area’s upscale look and feel presented limitations. Our systems provided an easy solution. Architect David Peabody said, “Working the equipment into my design didn’t present many challenges.”

He continued, “[Multi-zone systems] are pretty much the only approach anyone’s using for Passive Houses,” and with good reason. Using our technology, the Lindholm family – who purchased the home post-construction – pays just $57/month on average for cooling and heating. The average energy bill in Maryland is $193/month, and $280/month in the Bethesda area alone. Martin Lindholm said, “We were looking for a bigger house and were interested in a smaller carbon footprint.” We’re glad that our products could be such a flexible solution on this monumental project.

Read the full case study for more details.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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October 14, 2015, 12:23 pm

Project Profile: View Haus 5

Tadashi Shiga, principal, Evergreen Certified, Seattle, described View Haus 5 as “the now and the future of HVAC.” Recent industry recognition supports that: View Haus 5 is the Seattle area’s first Passive House-certified multifamily building and winner of the Passive House International US Completion Award, which honors the country’s best Passive projects.

Bradley Khouri, principal and founder, b9 architects, Seattle, designed the sustainable community. The five 1,100- to 1,700-square-foot homes feature century-old, reclaimed barn wood; LED lighting; walls over a foot thick; zero-VOC paints; airtight, tilt-turn windows – and our ductless multizone comfort systems.

“We needed the most efficient HVAC system out there,” said Sloan Ritchie, president and founder of Cascade Built. Our ductless system had a low enough load, a small enough footprint and high enough efficiencies to earn View Haus 5 multiple energy-focused certifications, including Passive House. Khouri said our systems are “great for uses like this because of their small size. And they provide incredible performance for such a small device.”

There’s even more proof in the pudding: One of the homes, a 1,431-square-foot unit, has a HERS Index of 47 and an annual energy cost of just $63 – an energy expenditure a tenth of its non-Passive neighbors.

Read more about the award-winning project.

August 6, 2015, 4:31 pm

Project Profile: Mamaroneck Passive House

August 6_Mamaroneck Passive House Image

A 3,000-square-foot dilapidated house from the 60s stood vacant in Mamaroneck, New York for years. It had a leaky roof, faulty gutters, mold, humidity damage, bad ventilation, termites – even squirrels in the attic. That is until homeowner Veronique Leblanc came along.

Veronique purchased the house because of the location that offered views of the Mamaroneck Harbor and proximity to the downtown village and country club. She knew she had a lot of work to do. An inefficient envelope and outdated equipment resulted in energy costs averaging $10,000 a year, and the home wasn’t even comfortable to live in.

Veronique planned to retrofit the house with a driving goal of saving energy: “For me, the best energy is the one you don’t use.” She attended a New York Passive House event where she met architect Andreas Benzing. Andreas shared her vision, and the two set out to create the Mamaroneck Passive House.

Under Andreas’ guidance, Veronique chose our ductless cooling and heating system. It delivers the extreme efficiency needed to meet Passive House standards; offers complete control over energy usage and savings; and affords personalized, year-round comfort for the family.

The cherry on top: a 70 percent reduction in energy consumption and the Urban Green Council’s Power to the People Award.

July 22, 2015, 3:59 pm

How Green Rating Systems Stack Up

Source: Department of Energy Source: Department of Energy

ENERGY STAR, Zero Energy Ready Home, Passive House. You’ve heard about these green rating systems but have you ever wondered how they stack up? How they compare is best understood via the Department of Energy’s (DOE) “High-Performance Home Staircase.” Allow us to walk through the steps.

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the landing of the staircase – the foundation for all green building certifications. Mandated state-by-state, the IECC establishes the minimum requirements for energy efficiency in terms of cost savings, energy consumption, use of natural resources and environmental impact. Green building certifications are given to homes that outperform the IECC requirements. How well a home outperforms determines how far up the rating system staircase it goes.

  1. A home achieves ENERGY STAR certification when it is than the IECC requires and up to 30 percent more energy-efficient than a typical new home.
  2. A home achieves Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification when it meets or exceeds the 2015 IECC and is at least 40 to 50 percent more energy-efficient than a typical new home. A ZERH-certified house meets ENERGY Star specifications, incorporates practices from the DOE’s Building America program and meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS requirements.
  3. A home achieves Passive House certification when it meets Zero Energy Ready Home criteria and is 60-80 percent more energy-efficient than the IECC requires. A Passive House generates most or all of the energy it consumes.

The environment, energy providers and energy users all benefit from green building. Reduced energy use provides a healthier, more sustainable environment. It lessens the loads on power grids, decreasing the need for utility companies to expand power plant capacities. For homeowners, reduced energy use brings down the cost of utilities. Simply put: the higher the step on the High-Performance Home Staircase, the better the home is for everyone.

May 28, 2015, 10:51 am

Project Profile: Sixth St. Passive House

Joey Conover and Jeff Erkelens own Latitude 38, a company committed to sustainable building and energy efficiency. They are so dedicated to this cause that they live in one of their own projects – the Sixth St. Passive House.

When selecting the HVAC for their new 3,168-square-foot home, the couple was tasked with finding a system that would meet the stringent energy efficiency requirements for Passive House certification. They called in Certified Passive House Consultant John Semmelhack, who said our M-Series multi-zone system was “a given” for the job. The bottom floor of the three-story house functions as a rental apartment. The zoning feature gives Joey, Jeff and the tenants personalized comfort control. The system’s INVERTER technology and cooling and heating capabilities deliver the efficiency a Passive House necessitates. In fact, the Sixth St. Passive House currently uses a fifth of the energy that would be expected from a house of its size.

To read more about the project, click here.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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May 15, 2015, 2:15 pm

Home Energy, Passive Houses & Us

There are approximately 40,000 certified Passive Houses (PHs) worldwide. That may seem like a large number but in actuality 40,000 represents only 0.002 percent of the homes in the world today.

In a recent issue of Home Energy magazine, Mike Smith, our senior marketing manager, residential products, shared why this is the case.

  • They’re relatively new.
  • They must meet stringent criteria.
  • They can be costly to build – five to 20 percent more than a standard home.
  • The elements of PH design can be difficult for homeowners to understand – like why their insulation must be one foot thick.

The good news is building PHs is growing and the Pacific Northwest is leading the way. In fact, more than a third of the nation’s certified PHs are located in the upper left of the U.S.

  • Salem, Oregon is home to the Rue-Evans residence, the region’s first certified PH.
  • Park Passive in Seattle is a PH that The Seattle Times said “[the owners] heated last winter using the clothes dryer.”
  • The Full Plane PH in Portland, Oregon met PH standards and even the rigorous Living Building Challenge™ by achieving net zero energy, waste and water.

“As time passes, we will see more and more projects like the Full Plane PH and its Pacific Northwest neighbors,” Mike says. “Not every house will be passive within our lifetime but it’s an exciting time for building and home energy professionals.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

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March 5, 2015, 2:32 pm

Project Profile: Little Green House

The lot where the Little Green House resides in Nashville, Tennessee, sat vacant for some time before builder Ryan Nichols, co-founder, Green Home, took interest. The land was tricky to build on due to steep topography and its small size. Nichols, however, saw the lot’s limitations as inspiration to design one of the area’s first passive solar houses.

The result was an 1,100-square-foot icon of sustainable residential development. The home features an angled tin roof with an overhang to control incoming light, a cantilevered second floor, charred oak siding, a rain garden and a glass garage door. Nichols’ team selected our ductless zoning system for the HVAC design. The system’s high efficiency, quiet operation and zone control made it a perfect fit for this sustainable bungalow.

Our ductless system also helped the team achieve its energy goals. The Little Green House averages an impressive $75 per month in electricity bills and earned LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Click here to learn more about the construction of this home.

June 19, 2014, 3:37 pm

Mitsubishi Electric Gives Passive House Alliance Webinar

June 19

We’ve been longtime supporters of the sustainable building movement and are currently the only cooling and heating manufacturer to sponsor Passive House Alliance US (PHAUS).

Our work with the organization includes training sessions and industry education, and last week we had the opportunity to partner with PHAUS to deliver a webinar. Some 100 contractors, engineers, architects and other green building professionals logged in to listen to John Bart, our national sales support manager, who teamed up with John Semmelhack, a Certified Passive House Consultant and owner of Think Little building company, to deliver a presentation on incorporating HVAC into passive design.

The webinar, “Heat Pumps for Passive Houses: Installation Practices & Duct Design,” delivered step-by-step instructions on how to design and install heat pump systems to meet rigorous Passive House standards.

John Bart also discussed our LinkDrive tool, another invaluable resource for contractors and their customers looking for installation and operation guides.

To learn more about designing and installing heat pumps according to Passive House standards, please click here to purchase and download the informative webinar.

June 18, 2014, 2:36 pm

Project Profile: Full Plane Passive House

Homeowner Lisa Whitridge aimed high on the sustainability scale when planning her new 1,950-square-foot home. The Portland, Oregon, house complies with Passive House standards that focus on an airtight building envelope to achieve a 90 percent reduction in space heating and an overall 60 to 70 percent energy reduction. The house also meets the more rigorous Living Building Challenge by achieving net zero energy, waste and water.

A sailing enthusiast, Whitridge calls her new Passive House “Full Plane,” which means skimming over the water at high-speed under full sail, using natural energies from the wind.

Builder James Ray Arnold, JRA Green Building, Portland, called this a “dream Passive House project” because of its ideal location on a south-facing slope and meticulous, airtight construction that provides a low cooling and heating load.

But the home’s unique structure posed an HVAC dilemma. “The complicated framing in this house makes creating ductwork space within the walls almost impossible. We could not have made this installation without Mitsubishi Electric’s great ductless engineering,” Arnold said.

JRA Green Building worked with Imagine Energy, Portland, to specify and install a Mitsubishi Electric ductless system with an INVERTER-driven compressor and two 9,000-Btu ductless indoor units – one on each floor.

David Landau, project manager at Imagine Energy, says our ductless systems are the company’s go-to system for Passive Houses. “You get very high efficiencies for low loads, and the units are variable-speed and adapt well to the environment. The SEER ratings are as good as or better than the other products with INVERTER technology and the ductless system is nice because we need only a small amount of space to move the energy from the outdoor unit to the wall-mounted heads,” he says.

Click here to read the entire Full Plane Passive House Case Study.

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June 10, 2014, 11:01 am

Calling All Passive House Enthusiasts: Check Out Our Webinar Tomorrow!

June 10_Passive House Alliance WebinarWho: John Bart, the division’s national sales support manager; John Semmelhack, owner of Think Little and Certified Passive House Consultant
What: “Heat Pumps for Passive Houses: Installation Practices & Duct Design” Webinar
When: Wednesday, June 11 from 6 – 8 p.m. EDT

Passive House building – the world’s most stringent building energy standard in the world – continues to gain popularity in the U.S. Ducted and ductless heat pump systems are a common HVAC solution for Passive Houses because, unlike conventional HVAC options, they can efficiently operate in the very low load conditions that are present in a home built to Passive House standards. However, it is essential that the systems are specified and installed correctly to achieve the aggressive energy-efficiency requirements to earn certification.

In the webinar sponsored by Passive House Alliance-US (PHA-US), John Bart and John Semmelhack will coach Passive House enthusiasts on how to design and install heat pump systems in order to maximize the benefits and meet the rigorous standards.

Those tuning in will learn the fundamentals of:

  • Quality heat pump system installation.
  • Duct design for optimal energy efficiency.
  • Register selection and the impact on noise and comfort.
  • Accurate airflow commissioning to maximize system performance.

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating first joined PHA-US as a sponsor in 2012. Since then, we’ve extended our commitment and upgraded our sponsorship and continue to remain as the only cooling and heating manufacturer to sponsor the organization.

The webinar is open to both Passive House Alliance members and non-members. Click here to register and learn how you can get the most out of heat pump systems.

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