Showcase of Passive House Retail Buildings

February 14, 2020

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January 2020 was Retail Project month at Passive House Accelerator. We made a global call for entries, inviting project teams to upload their retail Passive House work onto the Passive House Accelerator site in order to create a showcase of this unique building category.

(Note: project submission to the Accelerator is easy to do, and free! Please contact info@passivehouseaccelerator.comto get set up with login credentials and instructions.)

As many readers are probably aware, retail Passive House projects make up just a small fraction of the world’s Passive House buildings. In his interview with us last week, Andrew Peel pointed out that one of the reasons for this modest uptake is likely that many retailers are tenants, renting space in buildings owned by others. Passive House design and construction requires decisions and investments by building owners, but the benefits of those decisions and investments— comfort, healthy air, quiet, etc.—primarily accrue to the tenants, not the owner. In an ideal market, these benefits could be fully priced into rents so that the owner could recoup any extra expense for creating a higher quality building, but in many cases the rental market does not fully value the benefits of Passive House buildings yet. So, owners of retail buildings have a reduced incentive to invest in Passive House, hence the “split incentive”. (Creative and powerful policy solutions do exist to solve the split incentive problem, but that’s a topic for another post.)

This split incentive problem doesn’t apply to all retailers, of course. Some retailers own their own buildings, so they can benefit directly from investing in Passive House. Indeed, most of the examples of retail Passive House projects we see today are owner-occupied.

The retail projects submitted to the Accelerator last month run the gamut from a Passive House car dealership, a cidery, a chain of supermarkets, two different cosmetic stores, a restaurant, a furniture store, and an infill building with retail space for rent. They vary widely in scale, finish, and price point. They include both utilitarian structures as well as high design buildings. In all these ways, they are like a microcosm of the larger Passive House world. But they all feature stores that bring great comfort, clean air, and peace and quiet to customers and employees alike:

Scott Subaru Dealership in Red Deer, Canada

Architecture by Cover Architectural Collaborative. Visit project page. Read Andrew Peel’s interview.

Scott Subaru dealership, world's first Passive House car dealership. Photo courtesy Peel Passive House Consulting.

Scott Subaru dealership, world's first Passive House car dealership. Photo courtesy Peel Passive House Consulting.

Seminary Hill Cider Mill in Callicoon, United States

Architecture by River Architects. Visit project page.

Seminary Hill Cider Mill, world's first Passive House cidery. Photo courtesy of River Architects.

Seminary Hill Cider Mill, world's first Passive House cidery. Photo courtesy of River Architects.

MPREIS in Weer, Austria

Architecture by LAAC Architekten. Visit project page.

MPREIS Passivhaus supermarket. Photograph © Marc Lins Photography.

MPREIS Passivhaus supermarket. Photograph © Marc Lins Photography.

MPREIS in Sankt Gallenkirsch, Austria

Architecture by obermoser architektur. Visit project page.

MPREIS Passivhaus supermarket. Photograph © Schaller Lukas.

MPREIS Passivhaus supermarket. Photograph © Schaller Lukas.

BIPA Styling Lounge in Wien, Austria

Architecture by LIMITarchitects. Visit project page.

BIPA Styling Loung. Photograph courtesy LIMITarchitects.

BIPA Styling Loung. Photograph courtesy LIMITarchitects.

Cosmetics Store and Office Building in San Cristóbal de Segovia, Spain

Architecture by E2 Arquitectura e Innovación. Visit project page.

Passivhaus cosmetic retail space. Photo courtesy E2 Arquitectura e Innovación.

Passivhaus cosmetic retail space. Photo courtesy E2 Arquitectura e Innovación.

Restaurante Koh in Barcelona, Spain

Architecture by Energiehaus Arquitectos. Visit project page.

KOH Restaurante—Passivhaus. Photograph © Álvaro Valdecantos.

KOH Restaurante—Passivhaus. Photograph © Álvaro Valdecantos.

Tantrum Urban Commercial Infill in Revelstoke, Canada

Architecture by Stark Architecture. Visit project page.

Tantrum urban infill project. Photo courtesy of Stark Architecture.

Tantrum urban infill project. Photo courtesy of Stark Architecture.

Author

Zachary Semke
Zachary Semke
Zack Semke is Director of Passive House Accelerator, VP of Marketing with Zola Windows, and owner of Semke Studio, a marketing consultancy…

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