Focus on Design: The Passive House

Posted on: 10/06/16
Written by: Neil Gordon
Topics: Technology

Passive House  is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.


Check out the following five Passive House related blog posts from InSync Solar to learn more about this emerging design standard. 

The Tallest Passive House

The news about Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City has been very exciting to those who follow Passive House trends. Handel Architects have designed the tallest Passive House building in the world. This high-rise dormitory building with its energy efficiency will change the way buildings are constructed throughout the USA.

The 3 Best Exterior Solar Shades

How do window shades and in particular exterior solar shades play a role in “sustainable design”? To understand the role that these play, we need to better understand sustainable design. A good definition comes from the AIA website where it states that “sustainable design is a collaborative process that involves thinking ecologically - studying systems, relationships, and interactions - in order to design in ways that remove rather than contribute stress to systems.”

The last part of that statement - in order to design in ways that remove rather than contribute stress to systems - has an important association to exterior solar shades. This next generation in window coverings is a successful, sustainably design because it removes stress to systems by reducing over 85% of the amount of solar energy entering a space and thereby reducing the amount of energy required for cooling. This is a certain qualifier for naming the exterior solar shade a sustainable solution.

Exterior Shading Solutions For The Passive House

After years of popularity throughout Europe, the Passive House concept is finally hitting the shores of the USA. We are seeing new projects being designed and built by architects and contractors trained specifically for this exciting technology. In fact, the tallest Passive House in the world is being built in New York City on Roosevelt Island for the new Cornell Tech housing facility (see the first blog post). A primary goal of a Passive House is to reduce the energy costs of the building by 90%. Designers of the Passive House are using a variety of tools in their toolbox to archive this goal. One of these tools includes Exterior Shading Solutions.

4 Myths of Exterior Shading Solutions

The 4 most common myths of Exterior Shading Solutions are:

• Exterior Shades cannot survive stormy weather conditions

• They must have a short life expectancy

• Maintenance is problematic

• Interior shades are more economical then Exterior Shading Solutions

Exterior Shading Solutions are becoming a significant part of many growing trends in architecture. With the requirements of the Passive House to reduce energy costs by 90% over a traditional constructed home, Exterior Shading Solutions are becoming an integral part of Passive House Design.

Exterior Shading Solutions For The Landscape Architect

There are many beautiful and creative ways Landscape Architects can provide natural shading solutions for their projects. However, when it comes to engineered solutions such as those commonly used in Pergolas, or where unusual shading structures require more creative approaches, the choices become somewhat limited. However, there are a variety of new and exciting products from the resources of InSync Solar, experts in exterior shading solutions. 

About the Author: Neil Gordon is the founder of InSync Solar, a provider of educational content on engineered shading solutions to the architectural community. As a 30-year veteran in the window covering industry, Neil works with architects, designers, contractors and Passive House consultants to supply engineered shading solutions.

PSMJ is always looking to publish diverse views on issues and trends in the A/E/C industry. We invite you to submit a 500-word post on any industry-related topic. We look forward to hearing from you.

Guest Blogging


April 21, 2022

8 Questions to Ask When Looking for Software to Manage Your A/E Firm

You have many options if you’re an architecture or engineering (A/E) firm decision-maker and are looking for software to help you manage your organization. Systems run the gamut..

Read More
April 15, 2022

Why Strategic Plans Languish and Fail

There’s no question that strategic planning is essential for firm success. Yet despite this, the vast majority of strategic plans fail or fail to be fully or successfully..

Read More
February 24, 2022

It’s Time for AEC Firms to Get Serious About Agile Project Management

As smoothly as many architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms have adapted to the realities of doing business during a pandemic, and as plentiful as the..

Read More