Welcome to EnergieWende: Part 3, Passive House Hi-Rise Retrofit

November 23, 2013

Actually, part 4, but I left out part 1. Never mind.

You can view the whole thing here.

9 Responses to “Welcome to EnergieWende: Part 3, Passive House Hi-Rise Retrofit”

  1. Most of the tenants are new! Somehow I guess the 6.3 per square meter is a lot more than the residents who were ousted were paying.

    I am all for increasing energy efficiency. All new construction should be mandated to be ultra efficient. But what are we going to do for the billions of people who live in inefficient housing all over the world when carbon heating fuels become ->ridiculously expensive<- and anathema environmentally?

    Surely, all homes will need to be heated/cooled with electricity in the future? How is that going to work economically – the cost of retrofitting billions of homes and the cost of all that electricity?

    Can a post carbon-fuel world can work without socialism, without free electricity generated by sunlight, wind, and tide. Which are, themselves, free.

    • Bruce Miller Says:

      “Socialism” that “Black or White” logic defined, so-called “opposite” to Capitalism in the McCarthyism-ed American mind! You poor arseholes were mesmerized into a standard gut reaction to the communal side of the human personality to the point where you would tax even the milk in breast feeding? Fuck Right off O.K.? Take your moron mis-thinking right to Hell with your worthless cannon-fodder-ed hides you goddammit pistol-toter murderers!
      Social Democracies – the very worst enemy of the current, Republican, share-holder (mostly China-men now) ruled, corporation controlled, plutocracy(Israeli/Saudi/Chinese) influenced, “Corpocracy” that has evolved as “all-powerful” over even the Capitalist Democracy it replaces in the U.S.A. and only in the last three decades – are your true enemies in the U.S.A.
      Because so little is left on the table for the peons, the infrastructure, education, quality food-stuffs, potency of vote power, health care, proper policing, America has become a land of brutal, and brutalized louts and knuckle draggers and pistol toters!
      McMansions, McHummers, McSuberbs, McShopping malls, McLives? No thinking needed, no choices offered, even the McDiploma-mills and their McDiplomas!
      America’s Corporate Welfare, a purely Socialist act by your “Corpocractic” government! Fuck Eh! Fooled you!

    • MorinMoss Says:

      The short clip is too light on details so I did a little research and found that this was more than just a retrofit and appears to have been completed in 2007.


      An overview of other projects by the Rombach Architects are at the following:
      http://www.architekt-rombach.de/ (which redirects to the above WordPress site)

      The explanation for “most tenants are new” is that the previously existing 90 flats, described as too large ( a concept likely foreign to we Nordamerikaners ) with awkward layouts were rearranged into 135 units, a 50% increase.

      The translated text states that all apartments now have a balcony and implies that the existing ones were made larger. It also implies that the new rental rates are less than before – presumably for the same square footage.

      More info obtained from pg 40 of Gunter Lang’s 2011 presentation on Passivhaus construction in Austria claims an 82% reduction in heating and a €13.5 million cost for the retrofit.

      Click to access 11.pdf

      As I pointed out in one of my back-and-forths with Engineer-Poet, cleaning up our electricity generation is only one of the puzzle pieces of a reduced-carbon world.
      Talk about nuclear, solar, EVs, etc is all well & good but we also need to address the energy consumption of all our buildings, old & new.

      This is not a new discussion but not enough has been done. MIT has had periodic solar building competitions going back to WW2 and physicist and solar pioneer Maria Telkes and architect Eleanor Raymond built the Dover Sun House in 1948, with funding from Amelia Peabody,which had 20 tons of molten-salt storage, and allowed the house to be heated ONLY by the sun for 2.5 years.

      The $20,000 construction cost of the Dover Sun House would be ~$200,000 today.


      The Oil Embargo of ’73 revived interest in low-energy housing and one of the outcomes was that super-insulated designs, especially with control of thermal bridging and air leakage, trumped ones that focused on passive solar.

      Inspired by the 1977 Saskatchewan Conservation House, one of the 1st homes to sport heat recovery ventilation, along comes the Passivhaus standard which I hope will become prevalent in North America and has the potential to not only dramatically cut energy usage but create hundreds of thousands of long-term construction jobs.

      The Lang PDF link above has more examples of Passivhaus construction & retrofits for a variety of buildings incl. an office building, a school and a couple projects in excess of 200,000 sq-ft

      • MorinMoss Says:

        “More info obtained from pg 40 of Gunter Lang’s 2011 presentation on Passivhaus construction in Austria claims an 82% reduction in heating and a €13.5 million cost for the retrofit.”

        Click to access 11.pdf

        Correction – that specific project is pg 49 NOT pg 40.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        From the info over at architecture2030.org, it seems that it would require ~$600 billion to build enough new generation to cover an expected growth of 4.74 quad BTU by 2030.

        I have some questions for which I can find no ready answers at the site.

        1) How much would it cost to reduce energy use by buildings so that the new generation isn’t needed?
        (Note: Unlike the site’s plan, I’m not allowing purchases of renewable credits or offsets, only actual renovations or retrofits)

        2) Would that stimulate the local economies more than big nuke or coal plant projects? If so, by how much?

        3) How much less CO2 would be emitted between now & 2030 by choosing negawatts over megawatts?

  2. […] Actually, part 4, but I left out part 1. Never mind. You can view the whole thing here.  […]

  3. MorinMoss Says:

    Greenman, when you have a moment, I have a longwinded comment languishing in moderation limbo. I assure you that it’s polite, topical & informative, thanks.

  4. […] 2013/11/23: PSinclair: Welcome to EnergieWende: Part 3, Passive House Hi-Rise Retrofit […]

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