DAAPx Presentation: Summer House, Winter House

What does it mean to be “comfortable?” This presentation at the DAAPx Symposium on Experiential Design in September 2020 uses the Iowa Nest Residence to explore the idea of designing for “thermal delight” (a term coined by Lisa Heschong in her book of the same name). It discusses how comfort is far more than just air temperature, and how these additional physical sensations were used in the Nest Residence to maintain comfort largely through passive measures.

The Nest Residence is Featured in the New Edition of MEEB

The 13th edition of Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings (AKA “MEEB”) has just been published by Wiley. Chapter 1 on Design Process prominently features the Iowa Nest Residence as an exemplar of high-performance design — incorporating much of the material that has been discussed in detail on this blog.

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Seven Strategies for Net Zero Energy at Net Zero Cost

We set out to design a Net Zero Energy house at conventional per-square-foot costs. We got pretty darn close. Sans solar panels (which will be installed after two years of operation), the house came in at 8% less than a conventional new home. With solar panels, the house is still 2% less than conventional.

Here’s a full cost breakdown, and the seven strategies we used to get there.

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A Wood Stove in a Passive House

How should you design and detail a wood stove in an airtight Passive House? Here are some of the considerations, and the approach we used on this project.

First off: should you even have a wood stove in a Passive House? This is rightly a matter of some debate. It’s certainly not necessary, as our temperature data have shown: this particular house has proven it can stay habitable even through the coldest of cold snaps—maintaining ~55 degF even in -20 degF outdoor temperatures without mechanical heating.

And, a wood stove in a Passive House comes with downsides and risks:

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