28 March 2011

Oregon Sets Efficiency Precedent

Oregon Sets Efficiency Precedent:
Passive House Building Energy Standard to be High Level Option Within State Reach Code

SALEM, Ore.—Wednesday (3/16), the Oregon Reach Code Committee unanimously adopted the Passive House Building Energy Standard as an option within the new Reach Code. The Committee, initiated by S.B. 79, is developing an optional, aspirational building code with a two-fold purpose: to incentivize high performance buildings, and to allow jurisdictions & builders to field test state-of-the-art construction methods
The Passive House Building Energy Standard, which cuts energy use by 70-90%, is the world’s most rigorous standard for energy efficiency. Although still relatively new to the U.S., it has been widely practiced and is being phased in as minimum building code in Europe.
“While still only an option within an option, we can all be proud that Oregon has taken this historic step to continue as a leader for the country by including the Passive House Building Energy Standard in the new Oregon Reach Code,” stated Sam Hagerman, President of Portland contractor Hammer and Hand and the national Passive House Alliance. “We applaud the Reach Code Committee for taking this important action towards addressing the climate challenge we face.”
“The Passive House Standard is not only cost effective related to standard construction, these buildings also have superior comfort, health, performance, and durability,” said Stephen Aiguier, President of Portland Design-Build Firm, Green Hammer. “This is a great indication that Oregon is starting to take the steps needed to solve climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign energy.”
The measure garnered strong support, having been endorsed by 14 nonprofit organizations, many individuals, and 29 businesses including Oregon CUB, Oregon Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Rocky Mountain Institute, and VOIS Business Alliance. Jana Gastellum of Oregon Environmental Council testified in support of the adoption, and the Chair of the Oregon Global Warming Commission sent a letter of support aligning the Passive House Standard with their October 2010 Roadmap to 2020 report calling for greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80%.
The Reach Committee voted the Passive House Building Energy Standard into a high level of the commercial building portion of the Reach Code (Section 301.1.1) and indicated they will likely do the same for the residential portion when they reach that section in an upcoming session.

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