The Oregon Passive House community has been buzzing this week about an exciting new development in the state: the Oregon Reach Code Committee adopting a standard recognizing Passive House construction.
It took me awhile to figure out what this meant. Basically, the committee is charged with drafting Oregon's optional set of statewide construction standards for energy efficiency that exceed the requirements of the state's mandatory building codes. Builders who follow the Reach Code are following an optional "green" path for construction.
The committee adopted an amendment to the Reach Code that allows certified Passive Houses to meet the state's energy compliance standard for commercial buildings, and they say they hope to add residential buildings in the near future.
I know, it's still a bit hard to understand if you're not in the construction/building field. But suffice it to say this is a very exciting development in getting Passive Houses more widely recognized as an energy efficient building option and hopefully in spreading the popularity of the standard. According to one article I read, this development could also pave the way for Passive Houses in Oregon to capitalize on green-building incentives -- a very exciting possibility, since it would encourage more people to build Passive Houses if they can get incentives from the state in return.
One of the best articles I read about this news was from Sustainable Business Oregon: http://sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2011/03/oregon-steps-up-on-passive-house.html
There also was an article on Green Building Advisor, a well-respected green building website: www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/oregon-s-reach-code-adopts-passivhaus-standard
I'm happy to say that we played a small part in this new Oregon standard. A group of Oregon Building Code Division officials visited and toured our home back in early February, which may have helped spur more discussions. Our house was also presented and discussed at Reach Code meetings. We're glad to know that our story of how comfortable we've been in our home and how much energy we have saved helped influence this positive outcome.