Frankfurt witnessed the gathering of over 1,000 Passive House Enthusiasts over the weekend of April 19th to 21st April for the 17th International Conference.
The overriding theme of the conference was ‘Passive House – a solid foundation for the energy revolution’ and the gathering facilitated over 90 presentations across 16 different sessions and from almost 35 different countries; a truly international affair. The presentations leaned heavily toward the understanding of Passive House in the context of the emerging ‘Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’ which are coming down the tracks at us in the EU, for all new builds, as and from 2021.
‘Mind the Gap’ is now no longer the gap between Passive House Standards and many National Standards, but rather the winter gap whereby a Passive Building (being relatively energy neutral in Northern climates for the summer months) needs to discover technologies to get it over the deep cold winter months to become truly zero energy. Undoubtedly the storage of energy will be a big topic for the next few years. This theme also gave rise to the ‘independent’ launch at the conference of ‘A New Way of Building’ an undoubted expansion into other ecological concerns such as water, materials and socio-economic issues (ref : www.memorandum-NeuesBauen.com)
The 2-day conference is also allied with a third day of site visits to exemplary buildings and a trade show and this year was no different. The site visits assure one that problems with contractors and planners are not unique to the English speaking fraternity while the trade show indicates the wealth of opportunity that is out there for Irish products produced to a PH standard. Munster Joinery were there in force exhibiting their new Passive House Range.
Six presentations at the conference originated in Ireland as we continue to contribute greatly to the evolution of the standard both in our endeavours at home and also within the international community. It is worth while noting that the two great centres of PH in Europe currently are in Brussels and Frankfurt, they see the future benefits of the standard and are willing to support its evolution.
On the trip over I sat beside a delegate returning home from The Food Poverty Conference which had been held in Dublin organised by the Mary Robinson Foundation et al. For this gentleman, a herd owning farmer, (a pasturist), global warming is an everyday reality now; we owe it to him and to his children to build responsibly in the west and in all developed countries. Passive House is both good business and good sense.
The 2014 conference is in Aachen from April 25th to 27th.
The Irish Passive House Conference ‘See the Light’ will be held in the Autumn 2013. Keep an eye on this web site for details.
– Martin Murray