Passive House Institute US
Urbana, Illinois is a small city surrounded by the Midwestern cornfields and is home to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. As with most towns Champaign-Urbana, which is located about two hours south of the metropolis Chicago, is also home to some low-income neighborhoods. But this community boasts one of the first highly energy efficient ‘Passive House’ buildings in the United States, and it is even planning a 48-unit Passive House project for low income housing.
The ‘Passive House’ standard originated in Germany and is the strictest energy code for buildings in the world. Following early super-insulation work in the US in the early 1970s, which was pioneered by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the Passive House Concept was further developed in the early 1990s by Dr. Wolfgang Feist and Professor Bo Adamson.The first Passive House prototype was built in 1990 in Kranichstein, Germany.
Passivehouse building principles generate a 70-80% reduction in overall energy consumption and a 90-95% reduction of heating and cooling energy. In 1996, the German Passivhaus Institut (PHI) was founded by Dr. Wolfgang Feist to coordinate the concept as a building system, to develop the science of energy modeling/verification and to develop the Passive House components.
The American affiliate of the German PHI, the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) was founded in 2007 in Urbana, IL. It is a consulting and research firm that works to further the implementation of Passive House standards and techniques nationwide. PHIUS provides constructing, measuring, and verifying performance of Passive Houses in all US climate zones, contributes to the development of minimized mechanical systems for heating, cooling, and dehumidification, creates design guidelines for Passive Houses, provides energy calculation and consulting services and participates in presentations, meetings, conferences regarding passive construction.
PHIUS is the only distributor of the PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) software developed by Dr. Feist and the only officially authorized Passive House Certifier in the country. The organization works closely with the German PHI to maintain quality training and construction. PHIUS Director, German-born Katrin Klingenberg, is working on making the extremely efficient housing standard known to a broader audience in the US with the aim of providing affordable energy to residents of any income level.