Sam Hagerman on Passive House Design

Oct 8, 2013, 4:30 PM
Taylor Auditorium

Sam Hagerman, president of the U.S. Passive House Alliance, will be speaking about the Passive House building standard. This performance-based design approach relies on air-tight construction and super-insulation to dramatically cut energy consumption.

Sam Hagerman

Environmental Studies Seminar Series 2013

The Environmental Studies department is pleased to present Sam Hagerman, founder of Portland contractor Hammer & Hand and President of the Passive House Alliance. The Passive House Alliance (PHA) is a national organization established by the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) to promote, market and educate about the Passive House building standard.  All members of the Pacific community are welcome to attend what promises to be an engaging event. This event is open to the public.

What Is Passive House?

(from the Hammer & Hand website)

A Passive House (or Passivhaus in Europe) is a structure that employs a simple set of building technologies to achieve tremendous energy efficiency; energy consumption is reduced by 90% compared to conventional buildings. The standard emphasizes simplicity over complexity. Unlike with LEED, Passive House projects do not chase a list of 'green' points. Instead the focus is on actual, measured energy performance. How much energy is required to build and operate a structure?

Passive House homes minimize energy losses and maximize passive energy gains by employing seven principles:
1.   Super-insulate.
2.   Eliminate "thermal bridges" (that allow heat and cool to travel through walls).
3.   Make the building envelope airtight.
4.   Use energy and heat recovery ventilation.
5.   Use high performance windows and doors.
6.   Optimize passive-solar and internal heat gains.
7.   Model energy gains and losses using Passive House computer modeling.

The results are impressive. In Portland's climate, all heating needs can be met by a single 1000-watt heater (equivalent to heating a home with a hair dryer).  Lights, appliances, and building occupants provide all other needed heat.

About Sam Hagerman:

Hagerman has nearly 30 years of experience working as a carpenter, builder, and business owner.  Hailing from a family of Montana ranchers, contractors and public servants, Sam learned carpentry at a young age.  He moved to Oregon in 1984 to attend Reed College, and made the transition from carpenter to business owner in 1995 when he founded Hammer And Hand, Inc., the residential contracting firm that emphasizes sustainability in the built and work environments.  His leadership has kept the company at the apex of technical innovation, craftsmanship, and quality.  Hagerman and his company hold the full complement sustainable building affiliations and certifications and have built homes using a wide range of techniques, including rammed earth, straw bale, stucco, SIPS, cedar chip and clay slip, ICFs, and advanced framing.  He is also an active leader in policy and code issues at the local, state and national levels.  

About Hammer & Hand:
As a steward of Portland's built environment since 1995, contractor Hammer & Hand helps the region's people live better in their homes and businesses.  The firm's state-of-the-art remodels, historically accurate restorations and new homes of lasting craft and beauty give physical expression to its ethos of stewardship.  This ethos guides Hammer & Hand's sustainable building practices, honoring both the embodied energy and embodied narrative contained in every building.

About Passive House Alliance:
The Passive House Alliance (PHA) is a national non-profit organization created to support the Passive House building energy standard through public outreach, education, support of industry professionals and advocacy. Its membership includes planners, consultants, builders, architects, manufacturers and other individuals working to implement and promote Passive House building energy efficiency standards and construction in the United States. PHA is a closely aligned with the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), the national training and certification agency for Passive House professionals, projects and products.  The well-established Passive House Northwest (PHNW) will become the NW regional chapter of PHA, and a PHNW representative will serve on the PHA Board of Directors.

Posted by Rich Van Buskirk ( on Oct 2, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Edited by Jenni Luckett ( on Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

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