Passive House 101: Pushing the (Building) Envelope

Join the conversation on Thursday, March 25 as we discuss the Passive House construction standard: the most rigorous, energy-efficient set of performance-based building technologies currently available.

The Passive House concept—which can reduce heating and cooling energy consumption of buildings by up to 90 percent—represents today’s most compelling option for counteracting climate change in the built environment.

We’ll be chatting with local architects and builders about the principles, benefits, and designs of Passive House, as well as what incentives are available and how to determine if retrofitting your house is the right fit for you.

Moderated by Chronogram editorial director Brian K. Mahoney.

Panelists for this conversation include:

James Hartford AIA, LEED AP, CPHC—Principal, River Architects, PLLC

James Hartford’s work is rooted in technical expertise and design sensibility.In addition to his excellent design skills, he contributes his building envelopeexpertise and leads the sustainable design process for each of the firm’s projects.He is currently working on several Passive House projects that range from singlefamily new construction and retrofits, mid-rise multi-family over commercial newconstruction, and a high-rise Energie Sprong-style Net-Zero building re-cladding.

Stephanie Bassler, RA, Certified Passive House Consultant—North River Design Build LLC

Stephanie is an expert in energy-efficient building design and a Certified Passive House Consultant. As North River’s principal Architect, and a founding member of North River Design Build, her work has included large-scale master planning and development projects, numerous net-zero and Passive House residential designs, the Passive House-certified Women’s Leadership Center at the Omega Institute, and a LEED-Certified multi-floor renovation for Eileen Fisher, Inc. in New York City. Stephanie is currently Vice President of the Passive House Alliance – Hudson Valley chapter.

In Cho, R.A., C.P.H.D.—Choshields Studio

In Cho is a Registered Architect, Certified Passive House Designer, and co-founder of architecture firm ChoShields Studio. For over twenty years, she has integrated environmental resiliency into her practice of creating and transforming people’s spatial experiences to bring joy and well-being to their lives. Her wide-ranging focus encompasses the aesthetics of architectural design, technical aspects of energy efficient construction, policy support, and designing & teaching educational initiatives that convey building sustainability knowledge with the goal to empower everyone in addressing climate change so that we can together ensure a positive and equitable future for all.

John Loercher, Principle Consultant—Northeast Projects LLC

John Loercher is an Educator and Building performance consultant specializing in the Passive House method. He is the co-director of the Building Science program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as well as an instructor for the Passive House Institute US. His consulting firm, Northeast Projects, specializes in zero energy building design, passive house design and advanced energy modeling and to date has worked on over a dozen certified Passive House projects throughout the East Coast of the United States. He is currently the secretary of the national chapter of the Passive House Alliance and the Northeast representative.

Jeff Eckes, Managing Partner—LDR group

Jeff Eckes is the CEO and Managing Partner of LDR Group, a design/build contractor specializing in Passive House construction. Jeff began building and renovating houses more than 40 years ago and along the way he not only learned all phases of residential construction but managed to have a 20-year career as a live audio engineer, touring all over the world with bands like Twisted Sister and Poison. In the late 90’s he was able to successfully jury into the Southern Highland Craft Guild (one of the oldest craft guilds in the country) as a member for glass art (now retired) and enjoyed a career in art for several years. Jeff returned to New York in 2000 and founded a successful trim and millwork subcontracting company called Miscellaneous Enterprises. LDR was formed in 2010 and quickly became a three-time award winning residential remodeling contractor in the Hudson Valley. In 2016 Jeff converted LDR into a commercial millwork consultancy, working on large projects in Washington DC and NYC. In 2020, encouraged by a former client that was certifying as a Passive House Designer, Jeff received his certification as a Passive House Tradesman and ‘re-started’ LDR as a design/build firm specializing in single family residential Passive House builds and retrofits.