The Road to Better Buildings:
White House Initiatives, Definitions,
and What it Means for Passive House
When it comes to changing our building codes to reflect the Passive House standards we all know, love, and need, we’ve been focusing on state and municipal jurisdictions. Our recent Safe at Home and Policies We Want reports have shown ways that we’ve gained ground at the local level and demonstrates promising strategies we can take to gain momentum.
Now, with the recent White House initiative to define Zero Emission Buildings, Passive House is seeing movement at the federal level—and isn’t that the goal?
Zero Emission Buildings—Defined!
Heather Clark, the Director of Buildings Emissions at the White House, defined the new standard, highlighting three major criteria at the opening plenary of the NESEA BENYC conference recently. Going forward, all zero emission buildings will be verified to be:
- Highly energy efficient,
- Free of on-site emissions from energy use, and
- Powered solely from clean energy sources (directly or through market mechanisms)
Passive House anyone? The power of this definition is that it makes Passive House the most logical building sector solution to our climate crisis. Passive House standards have been proven to deliver reliable high-performance buildings, and they do this by keeping efficiency at the center of the design while driving electrification in support of the energy transition.
While our transition to a clean energy grid will take time, our buildings don’t have to wait. “Efficiency now” is more than just a saying. It’s an actionable plan that will make a massive difference in building emissions now and in the future.
“A standard zero emissions definition is a game-changer for organizations looking to make a positive impact on the environment,” said Timothy Lock, management partner at OPAL Architecture, who is also part of a team providing support and guidance to the White House Climate Policy Office as they set the new standard for Zero Emissions Buildings, as reported by Mainebiz. “This provides a clear and achievable path toward fully decarbonized operations, bringing emissions reduction to the forefront of the conversation in the building and design sectors.”
We look forward to hearing more and working with the White House to make the most robust and actionable pathway to zero emission buildings possible.