Passive House Conference Presents Solutions for Buildings of the Future

World’s 1st experimental project in Darmstadt still saving energy reliably after 25 years


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20th International Passive House Conference
Darmstadt, Germany  •  April 22-23, 2016.

(Press Release, Passive House Institute, 12 April 2016) Darmstadt, Germany. The “birthplace” of the Passive House is celebrating – the world’s first building of this kind was built in Darmstadt 25 years ago, and a recent follow-up study has proved the sustainability of this concept. Well over 90 percent of the energy for heating is still being saved even after a quarter of a century. The International Passive House Conference on 22 and 23 April 2016 will therefore not only look back at the beginnings, but also set sight to the future. Over a hundred experts will present projects, solutions and approaches which make the building sector sustainable and therefore fit for the future.

World’s First Passive House in Darmstadt, Germany

The inhabitants of the first Passive House building in the Darmstadt city district of Kranichstein first moved in in 1991. 25 years of user experiences and measurement reports as well as specific values relating to the durability of the separate systems are available. Statistical evaluation has shown a stable heating consumption of less than 9 kWh/(m²a) on average – this is less than a tenth of the consumption in conventional residential buildings in Germany. A further airtightness test, thermographic imaging for detecting thermal bridges and the taking of a sample from the thermal insulation were part of the follow-up investigations. The outcome was clear: “The passive components of the building proved to be practically indestructible,” says Dr. Wolfgang Feist who built the first Passive House and defined this international Standard.

The International Passive House Conference 2016 will be inaugurated by the Mayor of the City of Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch, and by Mathias Samson from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Regional Development in the German state of Hesse. Other speakers at the conference include Scott Foster of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the EU parliamentarian Claude Turmes, and two pioneers of the German energy revolution, Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker und Dr. Franz Alt. Building physicist Dr. Wolfgang Feist will present details of the follow-up investigations that have been undertaken on the world’s first Passive House building in Darmstadt.

All the components used 25 years ago in the building in Darmstadt were prototypes which were custom manufactured by small trades. Today, triple low-e glazed windows as well as ventilation systems with heat recovery are produced for the mass market. Due to this, the additional costs for the construction of a Passive House building are now almost negligible. Leading manufacturers will exhibit especially suitable products in the “darmstadtium” congress center from April 22nd to 23rd at an accompanying specialists’ exhibition.

The International Passive House Conference has been held annually by the Passive House Institute in different cities since 1996. The event will be taking place in Darmstadt again for the first time since the premiere 20 years ago. This year’s Conference is being organised in cooperation with the City of Darmstadt, the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, and the University of Innsbruck. The Conference will be held under the auspices of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Regional Development of the German State of Hesse.