From some comments on what underlies sustainable design by William Leddy, FAIA. Although he does not mention them by name, Leddy puts into perspective our arguably exaggerated emphasis on green certification programs such as LEED and Passive House:

“‘Green’ design is ‘good’ design…Sustainable design isn’t just about engineering and building codes. It isn’t just about a menu of strategies and building performance metrics. It’s definitely much more than simply ‘checking the boxes.’ It’s fundamentally about design innovation.”

read the full article in the AIA online journal here

Guest Blogger Monte Paulsen has written a stimulating entry for The Green Building Advisor, called Ten Misconceptions about The Passive House Standard.

As always on this site, the dialogue in the comments section is informative and thought provoking.  It addresses many issues I struggled with in the design of our current Passive House project–most notably, in the design of the HVAC system.  My conclusion there was based on a repudiation of one of the Passive House tenets:  that the air for the heating system could be delivered by a small duct system designed for ventilation air.  Ultimately I decided that this would be inadequate for providing good cooling and dehumidification.  The result is that this house will have a more conventional heating and cooling system, in addition to a separate ventilation system.

In this case, the savings promised by Passive House do not occur.  By the same token, I am working under the operating assumption that a dual system like this is necessary for any well insulated, airtight house built in this mixed humid climate–whether it is a certified Passive House or not.