Mika Gröndahl’s brief article highlights the benefits of passive houses and includes a visual representation of the main technologies such as insulation, passive house windows, and heat recovery ventilation which make it possible for passive houses even in cold climates to require little energy to heat. When the author writes “While they are increasingly popular in Germany and Scandinavia, passive houses have yet to make inroads in the United States” he fails to recognize that passive houses have indeed arrived in North America.
(To view the NY Times article from April 30, 2009 click Download Snug and Tight - Interactive Graphic - NYTimes.com
In 2003, the German architect and co-founder of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Katrin Klingenberg built the first residential passive house in Urbana, Ill using the specific practices, technologies, and energy modeling tools developed by PHI and Dr. Feist to achieve Passive House standard. Currently approximately ten pioneering building projects in the United States are either close to achieving or have achieved the passive house standard. These projects are introduced in the recently published book: Homes for a changing Climate. Passive Houses in the U.S. by Katrin Klingenberg, Mike Kernagis, and Mary James.
One of the prime examples of passive houses in the United States is the Waldsee BioHaus Environmental Living Center at the German Language Village in Bemidji, Minnesota. Constructed in 2005-2006, Waldsee BioHaus is the first officially certified Passivhaus on this continent representing modern German architecture and sustainable building design. The BioHaus is both residence and environmental learning center for language enthusiasts who come to Waldsee, not only during our many summer programs, but also year round, to learn about German culture, the environment, renewable energy systems, and sustainable living while being immersed in the German language.
Visitors to the BioHaus experience first hand the comfort of natural lighting and solar warmth with 100% fresh air ventilation, as well as the beauty of modern sustainable architecture and cutting edge technology. All hot water is a product of direct sunlight, and the average ambient temperature of 70 degrees is a result of modern geothermal technology.
Whether you are interested in learning the German language or discovering the technological advancements in green living German speaking Europe has to offer, Concordia Language Villages offers summer and year round opportunities for young and old to explore the Waldsee Biohaus. Join us for one, two, or four weeks this summer, or visit us during one of our International Day celebrations in July and August when we offer free tours of the Biohaus.
For more information on how your child or your family, your group or your science class can discover Waldsee BioHaus click on one of the following links:
Renewable Energy Program for science classes (6-10th grade) click Download BioHaus MS-HS science renewable energy program flyer with schedule.rev.5-6-09
BioHaus tours - for scheduling call 218-556-1347 or email email@example.com
BioHaus brochure click Download BioHausbrochure09inone