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Environmental Physics students designed a Passivhaus for their final project. These "passive houses" maximize heat gain from the sun while reducing heat loss to almost zero using physics concepts of thermodynamics, insulation, solar energy, as well as material science.
Physics teacher Jim Panzer developed this project in collaboration with his colleagues in the science department at JJHS. A recent trip to Germany enhanced his understanding of the construction concept.
"Thinking through a Passivhaus design gives students an awareness of their immediate surroundings." said Panzer. "They become more environmentally conscious, for instance, of where the sun is in relation to the windows of their house and how to harness this incoming solar radiation to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels."
"As a teacher, I have a unique opportunity to make the world a better place by being a positive influence on young people."
"Every school year students leave my class not only with a heightened awareness of environmental issues but a concrete way in which they can also make the world better through their own passive solar home design."
-- Jim Panzer