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Green Building News

Multi-State Passive House Tour

A number of PH-certified projects in the U.S. will be open for tours November 5-7

An Emu Pilot Project by architect Greg Fisher in Fort Collins, CO, is among the Passive House projects that will be open for tours Nov. 5-7. Photo courtesy Greg Fisher.

Passive House projects in a number of U.S. cities will be open for tours November 5-7 as part of the International Passive House Open Days, promoted by Passive House Network.

U.S. projects are located in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and California. Most seem to be single-family homes, but there’s also a high-rise mixed-use office building in downtown Boston on the schedule.

Times and dates vary, and registration in advance is required. A complete list of locations and times is available here. There also are virtual tours from last year’s event on a dedicated YouTube channel.

Ken Levenson, executive director of the Passive House Network, said in a press release that one aim of Open House Days is to give visitors a chance to see the houses for themselves and talk with owners. Buildings that are certified by the Passive House Institute meet strict performance guidelines, including low energy use and low rates of air leakage. But Levenson said the benefits aren’t always fully appreciated.

“People are understandably skeptical of the impressive performance claims made by Passive House practitioners, and too often supporting data leaves people unmoved,” he said. “That’s why this event is so important, so that everyone can see it and experience it for themselves, speak to building owners and get the unvarnished story, the personal story.”

Associated events include a virtual tour on November 5; attendees will see an 1879 New York City firehouse that has been retrofitted to be a residence. There is also a gathering at the 475 High Performance Building Supply offices in NYC on November 5, and a happy hour in Littleton, CO, on November 6 at the Breckenridge Brewery, hosted by Emu Passive and 475.

Scott Gibson is a contributing writer at Green Building Advisor and Fine Homebuilding magazine.


  1. user-7526729 | | #1

    “People are understandably skeptical of the impressive performance claims made by Passive House practitioners, and too often supporting data leaves people unmoved,” It may not be the impressive performance claims we're "skeptical" about, but that the average person is priced out of these homes. You're out of touch.

    1. Expert Member
      Michael Maines | | #2

      Why did you feel the need to add a rude comment? I suppose it's easy when you can hide behind a screen name.

      I have talked with a lot of people who are interested in building a better-than-average house but who have no emotional attachment to the data that building nerds like to share. Getting people into an actual Passive House can be a life-changing experience. It was for me; I was skeptical until I visited my first one, and I ended up working for the builder.

      That's not to say that they are particularly affordable, but if you are building an otherwise high-quality home designed for efficient operation, the upcharge does not have to be huge, especially if you are willing to make tradeoffs such as having concrete finished floors instead of custom wood or tiles floors. Or ceilings that are 8' instead of 10' high. And for people who have never been inside a Passive House, they have no idea what the cost might be. Seems to me that you might be the one who's out of touch.

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