Concordia Language Villages’ annual Family Fun Weekend came to a closure on Presidents Day for the parents and their children who participated in a 3-day Immersion adventure in either the French, Spanish, Finnish or German language. This year’s theme at Waldsee, the German Language Village, was Natur, a great fit for connecting to Waldsee’s new BioHaus Environmental Living Center which was designed to integrate into its natural environment and to showcase nachhaltiges Bauen with emphasis on reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Energy and excitement were in the air as the families from as far as Lincoln, Nebraska and Kansas City, MO met families from Wisconsin, North Dakota, the Twin Cities and Bemidji for a weekend of G erman language, culture, food and deutsche Gemütlichkeit. With activities ranging from high energy consumption such as Fußballspielen im Schnee, Schlittenfahren, Eisstockschießen auf dem See, Eisskulpturen machen auf dem Marktplatz to energy conserving such as Fingermalerei, Scherenschnitte und Bauernmalerei im Gasthof to energy producing activities such as Backen in der Waldseebäckerei, participants ranging from the toddlers to adults found engaging, and fun-filled activities.
Touring and exploring the Waldsee BioHaus and learning about its super low energy consumption and use of renewable energy sources was a highlight for many participants who engaged in a lively discussion on the importance of highly energy-efficient buildings. “Jetzt wo ich das BioHaus gesehen habe, möchte ich auch ein Passivhaus“ (Now that I have seen the BioHaus, I want a Passivhaus for myself), said a female participant. Inspired by the modern, comfortable living space and the performance of the BioHaus, visible on the building’s elaborate monitoring system, another participant announced to the rest of the group: “In fact, having experienced the BioHaus, I am thinking about building a new home for which I seriously consider insulating my walls, roof and floor slab a lot more than what is standard, installing better windows and using a ground source heat pump to heat my new home to dramatically reduce my heating and cooling costs”.
At the BioHaus Environmental Living Center learning about science is about all doing it. While the 8-10 year olds played intensely with a sun-earth-moon simulation model at the BioHaus to figure out the cycles of the moon, middle school aged participants discovered the basics of electricity, photovoltaics, convection, and thermal energy transfer by experimenting with our solar-thermal hot water and photovoltaic models.
Waldsee’s Village Weekends happening throughout the school year, offer students of German and their teachers a high energy immersion program not only in the German language culture but also in the science of renewable energy sources and the environment. Students get to live in the BioHaus and experience first hand the comfort, the science and the culture that can be felt and discovered in this cutting edge, energy-efficient Passivhaus and showcase representing modern German living.
And, we are working on developing special programs for middle school students and their science teachers! When will you participate in a German language program to discover the magic of the Waldsee BioHaus?