Vir­tu­al con­fer­ence 2020


A re­view on the first ever vir­tu­al In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce
from 17 Septem­ber to 08 Oc­to­ber 2020.
Go to website List of abstracts

Two im­port­ant mes­sages

... con­veyed the con­fer­en­ce: deep en­ergy ret­ro­fits need to be car­ried out on a broad­er scale, and con­struc­tion prac­tices must ex­ceed the mostly in­ad­equate code re­quire­ments for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.


Great praise for first ever on­line format

This year the par­ti­cipants shared their praise for the 24th In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce in the chat win­dow as the con­fer­en­ce was held as an vir­tu­al event for the first time on ac­count of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic. More than 800 par­ti­cipants from 40 na­tions tuned in and listened to the lec­tures on en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion and ret­ro­fit solu­tions from their own screens. The vir­tu­al Pass­ive House Café was open
24/7 for in­ter­na­tion­al net­work­ing.

We are happy to look back to sci­en­tif­ic lec­tures, build­ing tours and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­form­at­ive trade ex­hib­i­tion in on­line format. Thanks to all speak­ers, poster presenters, ex­hib­it­ors as well as to our part­ners and sup­port­ers and last but not least to all of you who par­ti­cip­ated in our 24th In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Cn­fer­en­ce!

Cli­mate pro­tec­tion and healthy liv­ing en­vir­on­ment

In the open­ing plen­ary of the 24th In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce the cli­mate re­seach­er Prof. Stefan Rahm­storf ex­plains that we have been already known for a long time that hu­mans can have an im­pact on the cli­mate and that we have to rap­idly re­duce em­mis­sions world­wide. The rel­ev­ance of the Pass­ive House stand­ard for cli­mate pro­tec­tion was il­lus­trated by Wolfgang Feist. He built the world's first Pass­ive House build­ing in Darm­stadt ex­actly 30 years ago, in the au­tumn of 1990. Feist ex­plained that "due to their low en­ergy de­mand, Pass­ive House build­ings are a ba­sic pre­re­quis­ite for sup­ply­ing build­ings en­tirely with re­new­able en­ergy. With this, the en­ergy trans­ition in the build­ing sec­tor can be suc­cess­ful. A healthy liv­ing en­vir­on­ment is an ad­ded ma­jor ad­vant­age for oc­cu­pants of a Pass­ive House build­ing".


A work­shop em­phas­ized that the Pass­ive House stand­ard should play a more prom­in­ent role in so­cial hous­ing con­struc­tion. Pro­jects from Tyr­ol, Darm­stadt, Ham­burg and Ber­lin have proven that with the Pass­ive House stand­ard, so­cial hous­ing con­struc­tion can be real­ised in a cost-ef­fect­ive, en­ergy ef­fi­cient man­ner that can also be visu­ally at­tract­ive.


Pass­ive House works every­where

In terms of con­tent, the lec­tures on en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion and ret­ro­fits spanned the en­tire globe. The par­ti­cipants learned about im­press­ive Pass­ive House pro­jects in Ger­many and Europe, North Amer­ica, Aus­tralia and New Zea­l­and as well as in China, Thai­l­and, In­dia and Saudi Ar­a­bia. They prove that pass­ive houses can be build in all cli­mates.

Vir­tu­al build­ing tours in­vited vis­it­ors to view many pro­jects. "Pass­ive House build­ings can be built in all cli­mates. They func­tion well at minus 45 de­grees Celsi­us in the po­lar re­gions and at 37 de­grees Celsi­us in Bangkok. Every par­ti­cipant could get to know a large range of pro­jects, this was surely an ad­vant­age of this vir­tu­al con­fer­en­ce. 

In­tens­i­fied ret­ro­fit­ting

The first key mes­sage of the con­fer­en­ce: Con­struc­tion act­iv­it­ies at the in­ter­na­tion­al level need to be placed even more strongly on en­ergy ef­fi­cient ret­ro­fits. Many speak­ers, in­clud­ing some from Tyr­ol, Glas­gow, Van­couver and the US state of Wash­ing­ton poin­ted out that new builds are now only pos­sible to a lim­ited ex­tent due to the short­age of build­ing land. Con­nec­ted to this, they presen­ted nu­mer­ous ret­ro­fit pro­jects which had drastic­ally re­duced their en­ergy de­mand with ren­ov­a­tion to the En­erPHit stand­ard. For Monte Paulsen, a Pass­ive House ex­pert in the Ca­na­di­an Province of Brit­ish Columbia, “swiftre­fur­bish­ment of ex­ist­ing build­ings in the in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions is among the top pri­or­it­ies for sur­viv­al of civil­iz­a­tion on this plan­et".


Drastic sav­ings

"The sav­ings of heat­ing en­ergy nat­ur­ally de­pend on the re­spect­ive build­ing, es­pe­cially on its pre­vi­ous con­sump­tion. In a typ­ic­al case, about 75 per­cent en­ergy can be saved after a com­plete ret­ro­fit to the En­erPHit stand­ard, in some build­ings, sav­ings of more than 90 per­cent may be achieved”, ex­plained Pro­fess­or Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te. In this re­gard, seri­al ret­ro­fits us­ing pre­fab­ric­ated build­ing com­pon­ents are re­ceiv­ing in­creased at­ten­tion. These al­low time-sav­ing and cost-ef­fect­ive mod­ern­isa­tion. The ar­chi­tect Stefan Oehler from Ber­lin presen­ted a fu­ture-ori­en­ted concept based on the seri­al ret­ro­fit of 12 hous­ing units from the 1930s in Hameln, Ger­many. The in­stall­a­tion of a large in­su­lat­ing ele­ment for the façade only took 20 minutes to com­plete.

Seri­al im­ple­ment­a­tion and made-to-or­der

Made-to-or­der solu­tions for en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion are also pos­sible, as Mar­cel Studer and Monte Paulsen from Canada poin­ted out. For the First Na­tions res­id­ents in the re­mote ter­rit­ory of the Heilt­suk, they de­signed a res­id­en­tial Pass­ive House build­ing for the loc­al clin­ic staff. To op­tim­ise the build­ing stand­ard for res­id­en­tial build­ings in gen­er­al, they now provide en­ergy ef­fi­ciency train­ing to the res­id­ents, also in the area of air­tight­ness.


Build­ing bet­ter than code

The second key mes­sage of the con­fer­en­ce: The polit­ic­al frame­work con­di­tions for en­ergy ef­fi­cient and cli­mate-friendly con­struc­tion need to be more strin­gent. This was also de­mon­strated by the spe­cif­ic­a­tions of the European Uni­on re­lat­ing to nearly zero en­ergy build­ing (NZEBs). A build­ing con­struc­ted to the Pass­ive House stand­ard may save around four times more en­ergy than the re­spect­ive latest na­tion­al spe­cif­ic­a­tions. With cli­mate pro­tec­tion and a healthy liv­ing en­vir­on­ment in mind, those wish­ing to con­struct or ret­ro­fit build­ings should there­fore go sig­ni­fic­antly bey­ond the code re­quire­ments, ac­cord­ing to the key­note speak­ers. For the ur­gently needed en­ergy trans­ition in the build­ing sec­tor, train­ing and fur­ther edu­ca­tion should be in­tens­i­fied, both in the area of the trades and at the uni­versity level.

Vir­tu­al Expo

The vir­tu­al ver­sion of the spe­cial­ists' ex­hib­i­tion was also a new fea­ture: here, over 40 ex­hib­it­ors presen­ted their com­pon­ents for en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion and ret­ro­fits. The ex­hib­i­tion was rated ex­cep­tion­ally well. Ad­di­tion­ally, the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te offered guided tours through the ex­hib­i­tion in vari­ous lan­guages.  The Pass­ive House Café was also avail­able via the ex­hib­i­tion. Fol­low­ing the series of lec­tures, the more than 800 con­fer­en­ce par­ti­cipants had the op­tion of meet­ing each oth­er there. In­creas­ing num­bers of par­ti­cipants took this op­por­tun­ity dur­ing the con­fer­en­ce to meet old ac­quaint­ances again or to make new con­tacts.


Next year in Wup­per­tal

We are happy to an­nounce: In co­op­er­a­tion with the En­er­gieAgen­tur.NRW the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te is in­vit­ing
every­one to Wup­per­tal in 2021. The 25th In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce will take place un­der the pat­ron­age o
f Pro­fess­or Dr An­dreas Pink­wart, the State Min­is­ter for Eco­nom­ic Af­fairs and En­ergy of North Rhine West­phalia. The Pass­ive House Award 2021 will also be presen­ted at this con­fer­en­ce; con­tri­bu­tions for this can be sub­mit­ted un­til 1 June 2021. We are look­ing for­ward to see you!