What the Ice Box Challenge Reveals About Energy Efficiency
How do you think 3,600 pounds of ice held up for two weeks in the DC heat? That’s what a crowd of Washingtonians came to find out on their lunch break at our Ice Box Challenge big reveal in Farragut Square on July 20.
Knowing that Passive House buildings use up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than other structures, it was clear that there would be more ice left in the highly energy-efficient Passive House Ice Box equipped with Rockwool mineral wool insulation, high-performance SIGA tapes, and glazed triple-pane Cascadia windows. But just how much more?
After two weeks in the sun (and a DC heat wave), there were 463 pounds of ice (26% of the original amount) in the standard code Ice Box and 838 pounds of ice (47% of the original amount) in the Passive House Ice Box.
During the unveiling ceremony, EU Deputy Head of Delegation Caroline Vicini noted, “We launched the Ice Box Challenge on Farragut Square two weeks ago on the same day the European Union took up its own challenge on energy efficiency in buildings by implementing a new energy efficiency target to achieve 32.5% energy savings by 2030. We are already seeing the benefits of these efficiency measures and are charting a path to a low and zero-emissions buildings in Europe by 2050.”
In Washington, D.C. — as is the case with most U.S. cities — commercial and residential buildings account for the majority of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. With heating and cooling being a leading contributor to CO2 emissions, adopting the hyper-efficient Passive House standard is a practical step we can take to protect our shared environment. And, as architect Alyssa Swisher from NK Architects explained, “Passive House is cost effective — once you factor in utility bill savings, Passive House buildings are cheaper than conventional buildings.”
Belgian Ambassador Dirk Wouters stated, “Brussels has added 2,000 new sustainable homes and buildings each year since implementing the Passive House requirement for all new construction in 2015. This has resulted in a 15% reduction in energy consumption and 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within the city.”
In his remarks, Tommy Wells, Director of the Washington, DC Department of Energy and Environment stated, “Our mayor has been very clear — Washington, D.C., is still in the Paris Agreement.”
To learn more about our greening efforts at EUintheUS, visit www.euintheus.org/gogreen
The DC edition of the Ice Box Challenge was presented by the European Union, together with the Embassy of Belgium, Golden Triangle BID, Nicholson Kovalchick (NK) Architects, the Office of the Secretary of Washington, D.C., and the District Department of Energy and the Environment. From July 7–20, the Ice Boxes were on display in Farragut Square in downtown Washington, D.C., where thousands of people stopped to peek inside and learn about the Passive House standard. Learn more about the Ice Box challenge at https://iceboxchallenge.com/.