Are Passive Buildings Resilient?


One of the best things you can do for a building in an area that's prone to power outages is to build it tight and well-insulated. When the power goes out, a building’s internal temperature should not plummet (or skyrocket) to match the outside conditions.

During the recent wave of hurricanes in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, there were many cases of nursing homes with patients who were suffering—and dying—because without power, the building could not be air-conditioned.

Contrast that with a 58-bed medical facility in Spokane, WA, built to the PHIUS+ 2015 standard, which is completely buffered from power outages. When the building loses power, the temperature remains stable inside. In fact, during winter, the building is often in cooling mode because of the internal heat generation from people and computers.

When the owners of the facility add a PV array, the building will be energy independent and net zero.

 Photo: Carolyn L. Bates, courtesy of Duncan Wisniewski Architecture