Conference in China reveals step jump for Passive House construction

October 11, 2019

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The 23rd International Passive House Conference in Gaobeidian, China wrapped up yesterday and the clear takeaway from the global gathering is twofold: (1) not only is Passive House picking up serious steam around the world, but (2) China’s Passive House train is the one to watch. Whether you look at the crop of Passive House mega-projects springing up around China, or the significant manufacturing muscle being directed to creating Passive House components in China (no fewer than 73 certified Passive House window models now in production, for example), the scale and speed of adoption in China is breathtaking.

Dr. Wolfgang Feist (l) joined by Ed May (r) and Michael Ingui (c).

Dr. Wolfgang Feist (l) joined by Ed May (r) and Michael Ingui (c).

“If western industry doesn’t get on the train and really invest in green development and products, they will lose to the international competition,” said Dr. Wolfgang Feist, founder of Passive House Institute. “We are now here in China, and I have seen that the Chinese government has got that message. Chinese industry is investing massively in the transformation to green technology, and they will do that. So, the message for western industry is, ‘Get your act together. And, also, go the path of very energy-efficient buildings.’”

If western industry doesn't get on the train and really invest in green development and products, they will lose to the international competition.

Emblematic of China’s trailblazing role in Passive House mega-project construction is the Gaobeidian Bahnstadt Certified Passive House development, located in the host city of the conference. Dr. Feist and the Passive House Institute presented official Passive House certification for the project on stage at the conference yesterday.

Major Passive House projects in China shown left, and Gaobeidian Bahnstadt Certified Passive House development shown right.

Major Passive House projects in China shown left, and Gaobeidian Bahnstadt Certified Passive House development shown right.

This single project totals 330,000 square meters (3,552,100 square feet) of certified Passive House buildings—8 high rises, 12 multifamily buildings, and 6 villas—a figure that rivals the total square footage of all Passive House projects built in North America to date. Astonishing. This is the sort of scale and speed that we need to adopt everywhere to slash operational carbon emissions quickly enough to avert climate catastrophe.

NAPHN's Bronwyn Barry with the conference mascots.

NAPHN's Bronwyn Barry with the conference mascots.

“China is really showing that passive house is truly international and scalable,” said Bronwyn Barry of North American Passive House Network. “I came here skeptical and am leaving incredibly impressed. Thanks to the hosts Hebei Province and Sundar Windoor City and Passive House Institute. They were unbelievably gracious.”

You know another country where some pretty exciting Passive House progress is being made these days? Canada. Next week, Passive House Canada will host its conference in Toronto on October 17 and 18. We will be there to report on proceedings, and we hope to see you! (Read an interview with Eric Corey Freed, the closing keynoter for the Passive House Canada Conference.)

Dr. Wolfgang Feist announces next week's Passive House Canada Conference.

Dr. Wolfgang Feist announces next week's Passive House Canada Conference.

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