Where will green building go in 2015?
I was asked recently, “Where do you think green building will go in 2015?” The simple answer is, green building will be a lot more Passive. No, it isn’t going to regress or retract. It isn’t going to become less aggressive. One of the best programs many people haven’t heard of is becoming a lot more mainstream. That program is PHIUS+ certification. PHIUS (Passive House Institute US) is an organization committed to making high performance passive building principles the mainstream best practice, and the mainstream market energy performance standard. Find out more about this great organization at www.phius.org.
I’ve been passionate about high performance building, specifically passive building, for as long as I’ve been involved in the testing and verification of green buildings. Many great designers and builders have built fantastic structures according to passive building principles. What makes PHIUS+ certification different is how they incorporate independent third party verification. What makes it even better, they’ve leveraged the existing infrastructure within the industry. Through partnerships with the Energy Star program, Zero Energy Ready Homes program, and RESNET, PHIUS has created a format that our industry understands. The path is digestible and contains variables already known to many of us. Many builders are familiar with using HERS Raters from programs like Energy Star, LEED for Homes or even IECC code verification. The process is similar, only the performance thresholds are higher. This is palatable enough for project teams to encourage the next leap in high performance building.
I’m not just talking about growth because I want it to happen. It has already happened for me. I’ve gone from struggling to get people just to incorporate some passive building strategies into construction, to working on projects as either the Rater or Consultant on projects in four states (OH, KY, IN, and PA). The spirit of collaboration that PHIUS has created has opened the mainstream market up to true high performance building.
This growth in the passive building market is no different than most things in life. It’s really about the people. The people at PHIUS, PHAUS (http://www.phius.org/alliance/home) and those that support the passive building movement in general are just really fantastic people. They are selfless. They are passionate. They have been extremely helpful to me and many others. They also understand that by aligning their mission with the mission of others, success is all but guaranteed. Look for compounding growth in the near future. I’ll be giving updates on all of the projects I’m working on throughout 2015 and beyond.
Please let me know if you’d like to hear more about the details of how PHIUS+ projects are constructed.