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Passivhaus Hits a Big Milestone

The German-based Passivhaus Institut says there are now 1 million square meters of certified space in the world

Posted on Dec 10 2014 by Scott Gibson

At least symbolically, it was a refurbished Craftsman bungalow in Santa Cruz, California, that helped nudge the total of certified floor area meeting the Passivhaus standard beyond the 1 million square meter mark, the German-based Passivhaus Institut said.

In updating the 1,400-square-foot house, originally built in 1922, the owners were looking to combine energy efficiency with the Arts and Crafts style. Complete specs on the house are posted in the Passivhaus database, and you can read a blog about the project here.

The bungalow is one of more than 10,000 buildings certified to meet the Passivhaus standard. Although most of them are in central Europe, according to the Institut, they're also popping up with increasing regularity in North and South America, Asia, and Australia.

Certified buildings include public and private buildings and come in all sizes. The largest built to date is an office tower in Vienna with usable floor area of nearly 21,000 square meters (226,000 square feet). The smallest is a tiny house near Rennes, France, with a floor area of 11 square meters (118 square feet).

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Dec 10, 2014 3:56 PM ET

Edited Dec 10, 2014 3:57 PM ET.

Congratulations MidoriHaus
by Bronwyn Barry

Thanks for posting this, Scott. The Passive House California ( community is immensely proud of this project by our members, Kurt Hurley and Chie Kawahara, and their team: Graham Irwin, who served as their designer and Passive House consultant, and Santa Cruz Green Builders, their contractor.

The blog site on this project is particularly inspiring and filled with (measured) data. It documents how this retrofit really has reduced its energy consumption by 80%, making good on the promise of Passive House. Their posts on water saving features and designs may also be useful to regular GBA readers, particularly those in the drought-stricken regions out west. (

Thanks again for highlighting this project.

Dec 18, 2014 6:57 AM ET

What a great project. A lot
by David Coote

What a great project. A lot of homes built in Melbourne and other parts of Australia during that period were heavily influenced by this style. To the point that they're referred to as Californian Bungalows. So having a model project demonstrating what can be done with a Passivhaus conversion of a home of this style is very useful.

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