Change habits to tackle climate change, passive house conference hears

Changing habits was a big theme at the 21st International Passive House Conference, which was held in Vienna on 28 and 29 April, with leading climate researcher Helga Kromp-Kolb telling delegates that adopting new habits and sharing resources fairly were both crucial to tackling climate change.

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“We have to manage with just this planet,” Passive House Institute founder Professor Wolfgang Feist told the conference, which was attended by more than 1,000 participants from over 50 countries. “The passive house standard is affordable and feasible for everyone, you just have to use your head a little bit,” he also said.

Meanwhile Günter Liebel of the Austrian Ministry of the Environment told delegates: “The technology for energy efficient construction is already there, now it is all about implementing it in practice and building cleverly.” He also emphasised the need for a dialogue on low energy building and refurbishment with those in traditional fossil fuel sectors.

Scott Foster, an expert on sustainable energy with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, also echoed the need for humanity to change its habits. “We must break through this system which is designed to produce and deliver more and more energy,” he said.

The conference also heard more than 100 presentations from speakers from over 50 countries, including a lecture on the Tochoji passive house temple in Tokyo and a presentation on a mobile passive house with 40 sqm of living space, produced by a 3D printer. Meanwhile, the topics of the 16 working groups included the passive house standard and renewable energy, passive high-rise buildings, passive house retrofit, and other exemplary international projects.

Participants also took part in eight excursions to passive house projects around Vienna, which is one of the world’s leading cities for passive house construction, with high-rises, hotels, large multi-storey buildings and student dorms built to the standard.

It was also announced that next year’s International Passive house Conference will take place in Munich on 9 and 10 March.

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