Minimize, Maximize or Balance: Designing for Net Zero on an Urban Site (WED, 6/14)

Star Garment Innovation Center - Sri Lanka's First Passive House

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) worked remotely with a project team across the world to retrofit an outdated factory in Katunayake, Sri Lanka and turn it into an EnerPHit Passive House certified garment manufacturing facility. The team enlisted the guidance of the Passive House Institute (PHI) early in the project’s development to tackle the many complexities associated with the EnerPHit standard – a Passive House certification that was designed by PHI for the renovation of existing buildings.

The project’s location in a hot and humid climate, combined with its use as a manufacturing facility, resulted in a heightened focus on strategies to reduce gains from both the sun and from equipment and occupants in the space. Controlling the humidity in the space is not only essential for Passive House certification, but also for ensuring optimal thermal comfort for the workers.

Project Services:

SWA’s services for this project include Passive House design analysis and recommendations, mechanical design review, energy and thermal bridging modeling, as well as testing and verification required for Passive House certification.

Primary Energy Conservation Measures:

  • A high-performing curtain wall, with a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.22, was designed in conjunction with strategically designed overhangs and external shading screens to reduce the overall heat gain into the building.

  • An Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS) to continuously wrap both existing and new structural components in insulation with minimal thermal bridging.

  • All exterior surfaces coatings have been specified as low absorption or highly reflective to further reduce cooling loads.

  • Mechanical systems include advanced dehumidification controls that will utilize waste heat from the cooling system to enhance the dehumidification capacity.


On October 19, 2018, the Passive House Institute declared the project as EnerPHit Certified, calling it “a milestone in industrial energy efficient retrofitting”. In addition to certification, the project has saved approximately 60% in annual energy consumption over the last year when compared to the previous building

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