This week’s Global Passive House Happy Hour saw an engrossing presentation given by Jordan Parnass of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) and Dylan Martello from Steven Winter Associates (SWA). The two men discussed their recently completed project, the groundbreaking Star Garment Product Development Center. The first Passive House building of any kind located in Sri Lanka, the Star Garment center is a combined office and garment production space that stands out for several reasons. Energy-efficient manufacturing buildings are relatively rare to start with. The project is also uncommon in being a Passive House in a hot and humid equatorial climate and environment. Rather than scrap the existing factory and start anew, Parnass and Martello discussed how it was decided instead to renovate the old and outdated structure, keeping the steel frame while adding on high-performance windows and exterior insulation. One major challenge to their ambitions was the lack of high-performance materials and equipment on the island, requiring costly and lengthy shipping of many components, including even a blower-door test setup. Surmounting these obstacles, they were able to successfully reduce energy consumption by 77%, provide over $8,000 in annual electrical-related cost savings with an improved dehumidification system, and seal the building up to a level of 0.76 air changes per hour.
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