Outrage + Optimism Fuel Passive Solutions

PHA June2022 Cover Final (1)

Our summer of 2022 Passive House Accelerator magazine issue explores the theme of Outrage + Optimism, a phrase coined by Christiana Figueres, the former UN Climate Chief who ushered the Paris Agreement to completion and who urges us to harness both outrage and optimism to energize and sustain our climate action.

In this issue, we dive into how Passive House design will play a vital role in the future built environment, particularly by focusing on case studies from a wide range of building typologies in North America and beyond. These include a new mass timber multifamily in Boston, a mixed-use supportive housing building in Seattle, and an expansive residential project in Cartagena, Colombia—among several others. Gracing the magazine cover is Winthrop Center, currently under construction in Boston, which will contain the largest amount of Passive House certified office space of any building in the world when completed within the next year.

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Articles in this Issue


Plotting Retrofit Paths

Six design and engineering teams. Six existing social housing developments. Ten workshops to plot out the deep energy- and carbon-saving retrofits of these typical three- to four-story buildings.


Ice Box Challenge Sydney: A Lesson in Marketing Passive House

The Ice Box Challenge came to Sydney's central business district in summer 2022 thanks to the Australian Passive House Association. The installation's clear demonstration of the benefits of Passive House to the public should remind architects that simplicity is key when marketing certification to owners.


A Delicate Balance: Weighing Embodied vs. Operational Carbon, Part Two

An optimized minimum of a project’s total carbon emissions can only be met by evaluating concurrently EC’s and OC’s relative contributions and the strategies to reduce them, rather than solving for one at the expense of the other.


Mass Timber Supports Mid-Rise Housing

How Monte French, principal of Monte French Design Studio (MFDS), and Alex Yoon, project manager, came upon the idea to use mass timber for a multifamily building in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston


Hobson Place—A Vital Housing Resource

Hobson Place, located just south of downtown Seattle, Washington, is a mixed-use supportive housing building designed to meet the complex needs of people living with disabilities who have experienced extended periods of homelessness. Owned and developed by the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), Hobson Place fulfills the vision of Bill Hobson, its former longtime executive director.


Standout Passive Office Takes Shape in Boston

Developer MP Boston anticipates that Winthrop Center will be recognized not only as a new peak along the city’s skyline, but as a beacon of building excellence and environmental sustainability. 


A CLT and Passive House Case Study

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is taking center stage in a new Boston development set to break ground later this year. Placetailor’s 201 Hampden is a zero-carbon, full CLT, Passive House building that will be bringing 14 units of affordable and market-rate housing to Boston’s Dudley Square, with construction set to begin later in 2022. Placetailor’s development, architecture, and construction management divisions worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology start-up Generate Technologies to provide the region with this exemplary mixed-income, mixed-use building.


To Live and Certify in Somerville

Vlad Pezel describes the process of designing, building and certifying Park Passivhaus in Somerville, MA. Construction on the two-story house began in 2012 and ended in 2013. Certification followed seven years later.


OPAL Architecture’s New School Approach

OPAL Architecture created a new school building for the Waring School in Beverly, Massachusetts. Tim Lock discusses the strategies that OPAL employed to avoid overheating and create a high-performance, high-occupancy building that will soon be certified by the Passive House Institute.


Puerto Madero in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia, a UNESCO world heritage site, suffers from a severe shortage of housing. Indeed, in 2014 the government estimated that there was a deficit of 47,328 housing units in the Cartagena area, 36% of which were needed for middle-income folks. This deficit prompted a group of investors and developers to acquire a 40-acre parcel located 7 km (4.5 miles) from the heart of Cartagena’s colonial walled city, with the purpose of developing an integrated urban community.


Bethany Terraces Takes Modular to New Levels

Paul A. Castrucci Architects' Bethany Terraces is a blue-ribbon award-winner from the second round of the Buildings of Excellence competition that will bring 58 units of affordable independent housing for seniors to Brooklyn.


Kiss House Housing System Launches

New housing in the United Kingdom (UK) has earned an arguably well-deserved reputation for being of poor quality and unimaginative design. According to the Bartlett Review, a highly regarded report into UK housing, 51% of new homeowners in the UK experience major problems with their properties! The team at Kiss House—an innovative Passivhaus housing specialist that delivers off-site manufactured housing using modern methods of construction—has dedicated the last 20 years to bucking this trend by constructing exemplary Passivhaus and very low energy homes. Indeed, the UK firm offers Passivhaus-certified houses as standard, and many of their homes have won awards. 

Categories: Magazine