Author Archive | Kristen Osterwood

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Passive House Tradesperson Training is Coming to Pittsburgh

The designs are in. But how do you actually build a Passive House building? It’s a need we hear from many architects and engineers in Pittsburgh. Such is the success of the local Passive House push that there simply aren’t enough builders with knowledge of Passive House to complete the construction. So we’re hosting Pittsburgh’s first […]

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PACE-ing Energy Efficiency In Pennsylvania

A barrier for many businesses considering energy efficiency retrofits is upfront capital.  Even if there is institutional will, a business owner must first and foremost meet daily expenses, and then consider the commitments throughout the entire period of repayment.  But what if the debt were tied to the building in question? How would the financial […]

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The new Cornell Residence building is the largest Passive House building in the world

Cornell’s newest Residence building The House is the largest Passive House building in the world at 26 stories and 272,500 square feet. As a large residence hall, there were unique challenges encountered, such as ensuring the most efficient appliances were used in every installation and minimizing penetrations through the exterior building wall (i.e. dryer vents). […]

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The Pennsylvania Building Code Needs You!

Seriously.  We need you.  We, those who want to improve the health, safety, and energy security of all Pennsylvanians, need you.  In order to update the Pennsylvania building code from model codes published in 2009 to the current 2015 version – we need you to submit a public comment to the Review and Advisory Council (RAC) […]

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Passive House Signed, (Thermally) Sealed, and Delivered

We did it (insert exuberant emoji here)! In collaboration with our amazing set of partners, GBA has successfully delivered the first locally taught Passive House training in Western Pennsylvania–40 hours and five jam-packed days taught by Western Pennsylvanians themselves. Before we do a little horn tooting, a huge thank you goes out to the organizations […]

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From Vienna to Pittsburgh: What’s the Fuss with the Passive House Movement?

In the past year or so you may have noticed that GBA has been quite supportive of the Passive House standard.  Why?  Well, designing and building buildings that use 1/10 the energy of traditional buildings is likely one of the best ways to reduce human’s contribution to climate change.  And as we are all about […]

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Green Building Ninja Style: How the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority Snuck into the Passive House Game

State agencies have not always been a friend to green buildings. There are outdated building codes, unpredictable defunding schemes, and of course garden variety bureaucratic inertia. But out of the ashes has risen a dark horse, an unlikely but stalwart advocate for healthy and high performing buildings: the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA).  What exactly […]

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p4 Measures Compared to Green Building & Sustainable Development Certifications

At this point, almost everyone in the building world is familiar (if not intimate) with LEED, with emerging awareness of the Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Standard, and Passiv House.  BUT,  in Pittsburgh, there is a new framework in town, developed right here. You’ve heard “p4” tossed about as the next frontier of sustainable, urban […]

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Why Traveling by Train is Your Greatest Productivity Secret

With the Pennsylvania Legislature studying the benefits of extended Amtrak service to Pittsburgh, it begs the question: Did you know there is Amtrak service to Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh is a city disconnected from the northeast corridor and notoriously out of the way for commuters from Boston, Philadelphia, and D.C. There are no high-speed trains, no state-of-the-art […]

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Updating Pennsylvania Building Codes

So. Building Codes. There it is, a title as unvarnished as its subject. There’s no dressing up building codes. They can’t be set to plucky music. So why are they worthy of your attention? Well to start, Pennsylvania’s inability to adopt up-to-date codes is costing you money. And I don’t just mean if you live […]

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