Marcus Strang, Affil.AIRAH

Passive house standard for CLT NZEB in tropical climates

Strang will demonstrate operational energy performance and occupant comfort for passive house buildings that employ cross-laminated timber (CLT) solutions in subtropical and tropical climates. 

Despite an established, international knowledge base in both the use of CLT façades and passive house buildings in cold and temperate climates, there are still knowledge gaps concerning their application in tropical and subtropical climates. In particular, occupant comfort and overheating risks remain relatively unknown in hot and humid conditions. 

A passive house-certified multi-storey CLT case-study in Melbourne was used as the pilot project for this study. It involves exploration of design strategies and building characteristics to meet a net-zero operational energy definition for several Australian hot and humid climates. 

Energy simulations are used to demonstrate occupant comfort and energy-efficiency design strategies that offer a pathway towards net-zero energy in the selected hot and humid climates. This includes steady-state simulation with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and dynamic simulation with EnergyPlus. These two software packages are used to understand any limitations in the software that may become apparent for CLT structures in hot and humid climates. 

Parametric energy simulations show that shading, surface absorptivity, enthalpy recovery, low SHGC, and minimised heat gains are vital to the economic success of passive house design in hot and humid Australian climates. 

About Strang:
Strang is a senior sustainability engineer at HIP V. HYPE and experienced Certified Passive House Designer. He is a former Australian Passive House Association board member and chair of the technical working group. Strang’s expertise is in energy performance and moisture risk analysis. 

Strang is currently a PhD Candidate specialising in the Passive House Standard and mass timber design, which he sees as a fundamental step for striving towards net-zero carbon emission buildings and a thriving, vibrant society.