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Passive Solar in Germany

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Posted by RF on March 15, 2009, 4:52 am

The Energy Challenge
No Furnaces but Heat Aplenty in ‘Passive Houses’
DARMSTADT, Germany — From the outside, there is
nothing unusual about the stylish new gray and
orange row houses in the Kranichstein District,
with wreaths on the doors and Christmas lights
twinkling through a freezing drizzle. But these
houses are part of a revolution in building
design: There are no drafts, no cold tile floors,
no snuggling under blankets until the furnace
kicks in. There is, in fact, no furnace.

In Berthold Kaufmann’s home, there is, to be fair,
one radiator for emergency backup in the living
room — but it is not in use. Even on the coldest
nights in central Germany, Mr. Kaufmann’s new
“passive house” and others of this design get all
the heat and hot water they need from the amount
of energy that would be needed to run a hair dryer.

“You don’t think about temperature — the house
just adjusts,” said Mr. Kaufmann, watching his
2-year-old daughter, dressed in a T-shirt, tuck
into her sausage in the spacious living room,
whose glass doors open to a patio. His new home
uses about one-twentieth the heating energy of his
parents’ home of roughly the same size, he said.

Architects in many countries, in attempts to meet
new energy efficiency standards like the
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
standard in the United States, are designing homes
with better insulation and high-efficiency
appliances, as well as tapping into alternative
sources of power, like solar panels and wind

The concept of the passive house, pioneered in
this city of 140,000 outside Frankfurt, approaches
the challenge from a different angle. Using
ultrathick insulation and complex doors and
windows, the architect engineers a home encased in
an airtight shell, so that barely any heat escapes
and barely any cold seeps in. That means a passive
house can be warmed not only by the sun, but also
by the heat from appliances and even from
occupants’ bodies.

And in Germany, passive houses cost only about 5
to 7 percent more to build than conventional houses.

Please visit above link for the complete story

This is quite a feat because I lived there
(Goettingen area, just south of Hannover) for two
winters and often for months the sun was hidden by
ground fog.

Posted by Morris Dovey on March 15, 2009, 1:36 pm
RF wrote:

Absolutely amazing! (That the NYT would notice something that's been
right under their noses for years)

Not quite "the complete story".

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by RF on March 15, 2009, 8:42 pm
 Morris Dovey wrote:

Ooppss!! The remainder of the article :-)

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