The Push Toward a Passive First Energy Code in Washington State (Mike Fowler)

Room 1 • 10:30 – 11:00 AM • Friday, Oct. 19


Passive House Northwest (PHnw) decided in 2017 to step up and participate in our state of Washington energy code development process. Our inspiration was built on a successful airtightness proposal to the city of Seattle, our own April 2017 conference with a strong Policy Panel session and similar robust policy discussion at the NAPHN17 conference. Energy codes can be a strong catalyst to quickly transition market design of new construction and renovations with high-performance building enclosures toward achieving zero net carbon buildings at scale.

Our mission focused on finding passive design measures to push our Washington state energy code toward meeting the PHI heating demand target and still pass the cost effectiveness test required. PHnw will share our development process to generate code proposal ideas focused on airtightness, heat recovery ventilation, and passive design measures. PHnw will also share the PHPP modeling, cost estimating, and research completed to support the proposals.

The Washington energy code Technical Advisory Group reviewed and recommended whether or not the proposals should become part of the 2018 Washington State Energy Code this summer. On behalf of PHnw, Mike will share the continuing story so that other PH groups can become similarly inspired to step up.


Mike Fowler is an architect at Mithun in Seattle, WA and effective June 2018, President of Passive House Northwest. He has served on two Technical Advisory Groups for the Washington State Building Code Council (Energy / Green Building) and chaired the Codes and Planning Policy Committee for AIA Washington Council. In a 2011-2014 stint away from architecture, Mike managed the Residential and Multifamily New Construction energy efficiency financial incentive programs (and first to accept PHPP model) at Puget Sound Energy. He has submitted outcome-based energy budget code proposals to the state of Washington and successful airtightness proposal to city of Seattle. In 2016, Mike co-founded the Council on Airtightness Performance Excellence (CAPE) with the goal to become a regional resource for policy, design, and construction practice. Mike has presented at: Getting to Zero National Forum, NIBS webinar, NAPHN14, PHnw, Washington State Higher Education Sustainability, AIA+2030 Series, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.