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About Essential Habitat

Essential Habitat is a Northern California based consulting and design firm dedicated to energy efficient, carbon neutral and sustainable construction, implemented through the Passive House standard. We provide energy modeling, consulting and/or design services to architects, builders, developers and property owners interested in developing new Passive House projects or retrofitting existing buildings. Our focus is on precise performance optimization and value engineering for efficient, healthy, comfortable, successful and beautiful buildings. Our skill set spans technical aspects of building science and construction to the art of design. A profile of the firm is available for download here.

About The Principals

Graham Irwin has worked in the construction industry for over twenty years. He has a degree in physics with additional studies in engineering and architecture, and an extensive background in software development.

Graham recognized the potential of Passive House immediately and was one of the first Passive House Consultants certified in the US, as well as a founding board member of the Passive House Alliance, US (PHAUS), and Passive House California. He was subsequently trained by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany as a Passive House project certifier.

Graham is also a USGBC LEED AP, a Build It Green Certified Green Building Professional, an NCBDC Certified Professional Building Designer, and a professional member of the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD.)

Graham is actively involved in Passive House advocacy, promotion and education. In addition to project-based work, he advises government agencies on energy policy and lectures regularly. He has presented at the International and North American Passive House Conferences, West Coast Green, numerous Green Building Professionals' Guilds, the Affordable Comfort Institute's Home Performance Conference and JLC Live. Graham teaches Passive House courses for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and trains Passive House Consultants for the Passive House Institute, US (PHIUS).

Alison Kwok is an architect, an educator, and a researcher. She received her PhD and M.Arch from the University of California, Berkeley and currently teaches at the University of Oregon.

Alison's architectural experience focuses on health, comfort, net zero energy design, and the integration of architecture, engineering and allied fields at the earliest stages of the design process. She became a Certified Passive House Consultant (CHPC) in 2009, is also a USGBC LEED AP, and board member of the Passive House Institute, US (PHIUS).

Alison actively mentors the next generation of architects through research, promotion, and Passive House education. She serves on several advisory boards, design juries, and technical committees for the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE), and the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Alison is co-author of the Green Studio Handbook and Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings. She is a licensed architect in California and Oregon.

The Passive House Standard is the most rigorous building energy standard in the world. Consultants, projects or building components that have obtained the right to carry the logo have committed themselves to design excellence and the Passive House energy performance criteria.
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