Passive House next addition to Greensburg's Chain of Eco-Homes

With the recent spate of deadly tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri, Greensburg, Kansas, the town destroyed by an E5 tornado in May, 2007, has largely fallen out of public view. That’s too bad, as this small western Kansas town has made itself a model of resilience and adaptation… not to mention turning itself into a hub of sustainable development.

Most recently, Greensburg has started construction on a new addition to its Chain of Eco-Homes demonstration project. Meadowlark House will be unique because it will be built according to the Passive House (or PassivHaus, if you prefer) design paradigm, a concept developed in Germany two decades ago, but still fairly new to North America. Meadowlark house will incorporate all six of the design principles associated with this concept, including passive solar orientation, superinsulation, and heating primarily from appliances and even body heat, in order to achieve 90% savings in energy costs (the Passive House standard).

Meadowlark House won’t just be built according to a German concept; it will also incorporate building materials that originated there. Builders will use HIB-System modular wood block wall construction (which I covered briefly in 2009) for the house that not only provides high insulation value, but is also designed to be “disaster-resistant.”

Builders won’t completely ignore American green building standards: they’re shooting for LEED-Platinum status for this one.  Check out the artist rendering above, and let us know what you think about giving this “new” design principle a shot in Greensburg (or perhaps even in other tornado-ravaged areas).


Image credit: Greensburg Greentown