Passive house represents a design philosophy and a core set of metrics aimed at delivering a highly energy-efficient, healthy and comfortable building. At Thornton Tomasetti, we believe the architecture and envelope design should be optimized in concert with mechanical system design to achieve passive house standards. This can significantly reduce the size and complexity of the HVAC system and deliver a cost-effective, low-maintenance, durable and energy-efficient building for each client, typically resulting in over 50 percent energy savings with less than a 2.5 percent cost premium.
We offer comprehensive passive house consulting and engineering services, including energy analysis, thermal comfort analysis, envelope design, structural engineering and HVAC systems peer review. Thornton Tomasetti has two certified passive house consultants on staff, one of the largest certified passive house projects in a cold climate (Brewer Village Center), and more than 500,000 square feet of projects pursuing certification in either PHIUS or the PHI standard.
Passive House for University Housing
With a relatively high population density of 200-400 square feet per bed and a strong need for cost-effective, low-maintenance and high-efficiency housing, university housing projects are ideal for applying passive house design standards. We can typically achieve the requirements for little to no additional construction costs while realizing energy savings of close to 50 percent. University clients include Williams College, Wheaton College and Bowdoin College.
Our Passive House Manifesto
We believe passive house projects shouldn’t cost any more to build than conventional buildings.
We believe all buildings should be designed using a passive house design approach to truly optimize the envelope and rightsize the mechanical systems.
We believe thermal comfort should be delivered by good architecture and envelope design, not only by HVAC systems.
We believe the building envelope is the most important and longest-lasting system in the building and should be carefully designed to optimize energy performance, daylight, comfort, glare, views and aesthetics.
We believe a well-designed building envelope should be a net energy benefit to the building, saving more energy than it losses.
We believe we can change the way in which all buildings are designed, so that this approach becomes the standard practice in the next 10 years.
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