Slideshow: TrekHaus aims to move passive house forward

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TrekHaus, a duplex being built to passive house standards in Southeast Portland, will become a living laboratory for students and faculty at Portland State University.

TrekHaus, a duplex being built to passive house standards in Southeast Portland, will become a living laboratory for students and faculty at Portland State University.

The second "passive house" project by design build company PDX Living LLC is going up in Southeast Portland.

TrekHaus as the project is known is a duplex being built to passive house standards, which boast an energy use reduction of 90 percent less than a home constructed to current building codes.

The duplex, at Southeast Taylor St. and 43rd, will also be monitored by students and faculty at Portland State University's Green Building Research Laboratory through a network of sensors being built into the walls and systems of the home.

The lab will gather weekly downloads of hourly data for one year and crunch the numbers along with feedback from the homes' residents. Having two units, side-by-side to compare and test different technologies will add to the value of the research.

The experiment comes at a time when the passive house certification is gaining ground in the United States, even while a controversy surrounding the U.S. version of the certification is coming under fire from its European counterparts.

The data collected by researchers working with TrekHaus and other passive buildings will help benchmark the energy savings achieved.

"It's important to us in leadership of the Passive House Alliance to get this information," said Sam Hagerman, president of the newly formed Passive House Alliance and president of Portland-based Hammer & Hand.

Hagerman said the alliance is working on performance measurement standards to ensure that all passive houses are measuring energy savings in the same way.

"Then we can show that our efforts are bearing fruit," Hagerman said.

To learn more about TrekHaus and what goes into a certified passive house building, click on the image above to view the slideshow.

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