Sunday, November 7, 2010

National Passive House Institute Tour

This weekend, the Passive House Institute U.S. held its annual conference in Portland. They typically hold the national conference in Illinois, where the institute is based, but this year they decided to have it in Portland because so many projects have cropped up in the Northwest. The conference is attended by Passive House consultants and other builders and architects interested in Passive House design, and they come from all over the U.S. (from 40 different states this year) as well as other countries.

Blake made a presentation about our house at the conference, and I'm told it went very well. The conference also included a tour of local Passive House projects, and we were part of the tour. We were told that about 110 people signed up for the tour, and that they would be coming to our house this afternoon in two separate groups.

So I knew there would be a lot of people coming. But I was still surprised when the first group showed up out front in this GIANT charter bus, plus a second smaller shuttle behind it:

About 70 people stepped off these first buses, all of whom were very knowledgeable about Passive House technologies and were eager to learn more about how our project was done and what we had learned from living in a Passive House. It was exciting to see so much interest in our project, and quite different from the other large tours we had done because these guests already knew a lot of the background about how Passive Houses work. Many of them also are regular readers of our blog.

And this was only the first group. As their charter bus was pulling away, a second charter bus came up behind it. The second group was a bit smaller, which made it easier for us to give tours and answer questions.

I was amazed at how diverse the groups were. I mentioned that they came from all over the U.S., but also from other countries -- I met people who are living in Toronto and in Paris, for example. I was really glad to see that so many people are working to spread the Passive House movement, and it gave me hope that the concept will become more popular. We also enjoyed telling them our story, and I think they appreciated hearing from homeowners about how the Passive House actually works on a day-to-day basis.

Thanks so much to the Passive House Institute U.S. for inviting us to be a part of the tour.


  1. Thanks for letting us crash your house today! We were all blown away by your amazing home. Your efforts to support Passive House movement are greatly appreciated.

    I hope the crowd didn't overheat the house too much for you;) Give my regards to Judy if you run into her at WU.


  2. Thanks, Skylar. It was nice meeting you!


  3. I just read your entire blog from start to finish, thanks for the detailed entries! As we're just in the initial design process of our new home I've really enjoyed absorbing as much information as possible about different projects.

    I was wondering if you could provide some additional information regarding your consumption now that you've been in the house through the colder weather we had around the Holidays (we live in Bend)? Also, would you ind sharing what the total square footage ended up being?

    Initially we hadn't considered going the passive house route (for a number of reasons), but after reviewing your project I'm starting to reconsider that.

  4. Hi Sarah and Stuart, I shared your blog with Willamette Living Magazine after they tweeted that they were looking for stories about sustainability. Your house is amazing! Adam

  5. Jason - Thanks for your interest! We're planning to post info very soon about how our house has performed during winter. The total square footage depends on how you measure it. For Passive House measurement purposes, it's 1,567 (which doesn't include walls or exterior). The normal measurement is 1,885. Passive Houses have very thick walls.
    Adam - Thanks for passing on our blog! We always are happy to bring more attention to Passive Houses if we can.