Ryan Lobello and Louis Koehl from Handel Architects stopped by to give an insightful presentation on their work on no less than four very impressive, extremely large Passive House buildings. One of the main lessons that they wanted people to take away from their presentation was that there “is no one way to Passive House”. Lobello and Koehl explained that the main reason that they were working in Passive House architecture was as a direct response to climate change being the “greatest challenge to the planet”, and in their opinion, working in architecture allows for the greatest positive impact on reducing carbon emissions.
Showcasing The House at Cornell Tech, Sendero Verde in New York City, the University of Toronto at Scarborough, and the Winthrop Center in Boston, Lobello and Koehl walked us through how they put their theory into practice. These large-scale Passive House projects, which employed a diversity of materials and designs, demonstrate both the great creativity of their work and the adaptability of the Passive House standard. As the two pointed out, in each case the standard was achieved, even though the projects featured very different densities, floor plans, layouts, designs, climate zones, and so on. This versatility makes overcoming obstacles such as supply chain issues–a problem that occurred in all four projects, although to a lesser extent in the more recent projects–manageable. The end result was a group of buildings that had a reduced energy use of 61% compared to non-Passive House methods, a successful outcome when aiming to “protect ‘this house’”, our planet.