"Time to think of the national economy"
Taking action for climate change - participants praise "Achieve Better Buildings!"
The measuring device showed more than 84 decibels! It was clear that the story about the improvised Blower-Door test in Kazakhstan was the winner of the first-ever Passive House Slam at the Passive House Conference in Heidelberg. The mayor of Walldorf received the most applause during an earlier panel discussion. This was apparent even without a measuring device. Mayor Christiane Staab demanded that for climate protection and society in general it was necessary to think in terms of the national economy rather than business economics. At the conclusion, Dr Wolfgang Feist invited the participants to the 23rd International Passive House Conference in China in October. He also revealed the city that will host the 2020 Conference.
Walldorf with its population of around 16 000 is not only a fair trade city but is also actively involved in climate protection measures. For this reason, communal buildings in Walldorf are built to a highly energy efficient standard, as Mayor Staab mentioned during the panel discussion on the demand for the Passive House Standard. She is already looking forward to another kindergarten built to the Passive House Standard. As a mother, she attached great value to sustainable construction. Therefore, she urged that in view of the consequences of climate change, it is necessary to think in terms of the national interest and economy rather than just simplistic business terms. Mayor Staab also called for a stronger commitment to energy efficient construction: "Actually I wish that people would do that of their own free will, but climate change is forcing us to impose regulations."
During this lively panel discussion the information that the subsequent costs for CO2 emissions of a building should be calculated into the construction costs was contributed by the audience. Architect Georg Zielke of Darmstadt pointed out that Passive House buildings do not have to be more expensive than conventionally built houses. He criticised the fact that current policies do not provide enough incentives for extremely energy efficient construction.
Praise for the new format
The participants of the conference praised this form of discussion that allowed active exchange with the audience. Though, the first round saw the panellists consisting of architects on the one hand, and the audience with experts for energy efficient construction on the other hand, largely divided on the compatibility of building culture and energy efficiency. However, architect Achim Söder declared with support from the audience that requirements for fire protection and legionella prevention restricted creativity far more than measures for higher energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency, of course
One of the opening presentations in Heidelberg's Town Hall was delivered by the Environment Minister of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Franz Untersteller. "Make energy efficient construction a self-evident fact already during the planning process", said Minister Untersteller. He also called for tax concessions for building modernisations. The Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, Eckart Würzner highlighted the fast-growing city's commitment to climate protection. This commitment does not only include the new Passive House Bahnstadt district, also a zero-emissions district, but other public buildings, such as a new large sports hall being built to the Passive House Standard. Mayor Würzner also stated that Heidelberg had reduced the energy consumption of all communal properties by half and is implementing its Master Plan for Climate Protection 2050.
Civilised coexistence will soon be at risk
In his opening speech, IBA Director Professor Michael Braum made the case for societal rethinking in regards to reasonable and sensible levels of consumption. He also advanced that it was necessary to "bring together sectoral optimisations" in the building sector. The founder of the Passive House Institute, Dr Wolfgang Feist once again urged that society must commence immediately the serious measures required to address the climate emergency, otherwise civilised coexistence would soon be at risk. The previously adopted route of "business as usual" was no longer sustainable. However, drastic measures also hold risks for the stability of society, explained Feist.
Intensify energy turnaround
Improving energy efficiency through the Passive House concept, is a pathbreaking solution for sustainable economic activity and will enhance climate protection, Dr Feist explained. With a Passive House building, the energy required for a good level of insulation and further improvements is already saved within one and a half years at the most, and CO2 emissions are then drastically reduced as a result. Feist insisted: "The energy revolution has been much maligned by many sides, but that's not right. We must build on this and intensify our efforts!”
Smoke with an e-cigarette
Michael Meyer-Olbersleben stood at the airport in Kazakhstan in front of an empty baggage reclaim belt. The engineer went straight to a local DIY store and put together new apparatus for the planned Blower-Door test. To generate the smoke required to identify the non-airtight places, he obtained the help of the smoker of an e-cigarette. With this entertaining story, Meyer-Olbersleben won the first Passive House Slam contest (German version), held by the Passive House Institute. The award for the English Slam went to engineer Marius Soflete of Romania. He amused the audience with a tail from a construction site where a chainsaw made life very difficult for him.
After the Passive House Slam, the big networking party took place amongst the impressive surroundings of the Town Hall itself. The participants of the Specialists Exhibition were thus also included in the event. During the "Achieve Better Buildings!" conference the exhibitors presented their products for energy efficient construction and retrofitting. The party ended an intensive day of expert talks and workshops demonstrating how better buildings and retrofits can be achieved today. Compatible with this, Helmut Schöberl presented the retrofit of a historical building in Vienna to the EnerPHit Standard, in which building culture and energy efficiency were combined.
Achieve Better Buildings!
Karsten Valentin of the ZEG (Central Building Association) held a presentation on the first Passive House hospital currently being built in Frankfurt. The programme also contained lectures on summer comfort in Passive House buildings, combining sustainability with renewable energy supply, and ventilation technology. English language lectures included presentations on cooling and dehumidification and on airtightness. The workshops on curtain wall façades, new features in the planning tool PHPP, and on BIM and PHPP were fully booked.
The number of Passive House experts is also growing internationally. Sergio Rossi of Finland and Osvaldo Carvajal Rondanelli and Rodrigo Gonzalez of Chile signed the contracts for member organisations on behalf of Suomen Passivitaloyhdistys of Finland and the Passive House Institute Foundation of Chile respectively. Thus, nine years after it was first established, iPHA now has 23 member organisations in 19 countries. Many of the international visitors to the conference also took part in the "Achieve Better Buildings!" excursions on Sunday. Besides visits to the internationally renowned Bahnstadt Passive House district, the participants were given guided tours of Heidelberg Village and other interesting Passive House projects in the vicinity.
Second Conference in China
The second conference for this year will also be international: the 23rd International Passive House Conference will take place in China this autumn; the first time outside of Europe. The Passive House Institute and its partners are inviting everyone to Gaobeidian, located approximately 80 kilometres south of Beijing, from 9 to 11 October 2019. A district built to the Passive House Standard is currently under construction in Gaobeidian and it is called ‘Bahnstadt’ after the Heidelberg example. In his closing address Dr Wolfgang Feist explained, that there are many other large Passive House projects in China. Peter Li, of the Chinese partner Windoor City, spoke about the growth of Passive House industry in China and invited participants to attend the conference. Some of the living spaces in the Bahnstadt Gaobeidian can be viewed during the Conference in October. Li noted that there are already a guest house and a museum built to the Passive House Standard.
More information passivhaustagung.de
We would like to say thank you to all our partners, especially the City of Heidelberg for their valuable support, but also to all speakers for their great presentations, to the exhibitors for developing innovative components and displaying them in Heidelberg and to the attendees for coming and bringing such good vibes! We have had wonderful days in Heidelberg, learned a lot of new things and have got so overwehlmingly positive feedback! We hope to see you soon - in China oder Berlin!?
2020 in Berlin
At the end of the Heidelberg Conference, Dr Feist revealed next year’s city: The Passive House Institute is inviting everyone to Berlin for the 24th International Passive House Conference in the autumn of 2020. This conference will be held under the aegis of the Federal Ministry of Economics. Abstracts may be submitted until March 2020.