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‘Passive House Design’ could be the future of sustainable living

  After Tim Sweeney after his presentation of "Before It's Too Late," at the Nevada AIA Luncheon, KOLO 8 Reporter Taylor Burke interviewed Tim about the future of sustainable living. The transcript of the video is below.


RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - What is a passive house? In layman’s terms, it essentially means that it is an energy-efficient home that is healthier for the environment.

The future of how we build our homes can be part of the solution to saving the planet in the face of climate change. The American Institute of Architects hosted a conference on December 5 to discuss just that, and one Reno architect is leading the charge for northern Nevada. Tim Sweeney has been a certified architect since 1984 and has done architecture all over the country. But, in Reno his most recognizable work is Argenta Hall on the UNR campus.

According to Sweeney, buildings, both commercial and residential, account for 39% of greenhouse gases. But what if we had buildings that may actually combat climate change? Sweeney says, it’s possible, with Passive House Design. His sustainable structures can get emissions from that 39%, all the way down to 7%. Houses are not the only buildings that can be high performance. Any building, of any size, whether it’s new construction or a remodel, can be transformed into a high-performance building.

What Passive House Design does is reduces energy by using thermal insulation, high-performance doors and windows attuned to take advantage of the sun, and efficient mechanical systems with energy recovery in the ventilation. The result is a building that uses 90% less energy, which translates to cost savings and a smaller carbon footprint. Sweeney recognizes climate change as a real threat and says, he simply wants to help fix it.

”My whole goal is to get other architects to understand the science and to see how they can use it on their projects. There’s some great designers and wonderful architects in this town. I want their wonderful designs to be wonderful performing buildings too,” Sweeney said.

In order to get a new or redesigned Passive House you need a certified designer. You can set up an appointment here.