Nation’s First Commercial Passive House Retrofit Becomes New H&H Building Science Office

Portland/Seattle builder and remodeler Hammer And Hand moves its building science corps of home performance technicians and certified Passive House consultants to Glasswood, the nation’s first commercial Passive House retrofit.

Portland, OR – Today, Portland/Seattle contractor Hammer And Hand moved its building science division into the recently-completed Glasswood project, turning the nation’s first commercial Passive House retrofit into one of the few occupied Passive House office spaces in the US. Designed by Scott Edwards Architecture and built by Hammer And Hand, the offices at Glasswood will consume 80% less energy than a conventional office space.

Building science corps of Portland/Seattle contractor Hammer & Hand“It’s vital to our future that we figure out how to transform the performance of our existing building stock in the US,” said Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer And Hand and President of the national Passive House Alliance US. “Because Passive House can make this transformation feasible, the Glasswood retrofit is a milestone in green building.”

Passive House buildings employ high performance building envelopes (airtight and super-insulated), continuous heat-recovering ventilation, careful siting and design, and powerful computer modeling to achieve game-changing improvements in building energy performance at affordable cost. Heating and cooling demand are pushed so low that big expensive mechanical systems can be replaced with smaller more efficient equipment.

At Glasswood, the additional cost of retrofitting the offices to the Passive House standard totaled just $15/SF, an amount readily paid back in energy savings over the first few years of operation. When added worker productivity from excellent indoor air quality and daylighting is factored in, Passive House retrofits bring demonstrable value to office environments.

“This is not just about revolutionizing energy efficiency. It’s about revolutionizing the experience of working inside,” said Hagerman. “Passive House brings unprecedented levels of thermal comfort and indoor air quality – no drafts, lots of clean, fresh air.”

The Glaswood project is a retrofit of a derelict commercial building built in 1916 on Portland’s Southeast Division Street. With former lives as a barber shop, upholstery shop, guitar repair shop, and apartments, the newly remodeled space now houses Hammer And Hand’s building science corps of home performance technicians and certified Passive House consultants. Downstairs a high performance (though not Passive House) restaurant space will be home to the new Mexican-inspired Portland restaurant, Xico.

“Glasswood is part of a mini-renaissance flourishing along Portland’s Division Street, and we’re pleased to add a high performance building to the mix of projects there,” said Hagerman.

More about the Glasswood commercial Passive House retrofit can be found online here.

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