Turf Houses - The Original Passive House


Icelandic Turf Houses.


Traditional Passive Houses - 4th Century

Traditional building in Southern China. In this climate, cooling rather than heating, is required.

In many climate regions of the world, if buildings are "sensibly" constructed, no heating is required and neither is active cooling (e.g. in some parts of Iran, on the coast of Portugal, some parts of China…). "Passive Houses" have always…

Traditional Passive Houses in Iceland - 9th Century

Traditional turf houses in Iceland.

In the Middle Ages, in Iceland people started to build turf houses after wood became scarce. These were Passive Houses, although they didn't have adequate windows or sufficient ventilation. Timber crisis: In the 17th and 18th Centuries in…

The Research Ship "Fram" was a Passive House (!) - 1893

Fridtjof Nansen's polar ship, the "Fram", was a Passive House

The first fully functioning Passive House was actually a polar ship and not a house: the Fram of Fridtjof Nansen (1893). He writes: "… The sides of the ship were lined with tarred felt, then came a space with cork padding, next a deal…

Systematic Research: Vagn Korsgaard and the DTU zero-energy house - 1973

The DTH zero-energy house on the campus in Kopenhagen.

The "DTH zero-energy house" by Prof. Vagn Korsgaard (Kopenhagen, 1973) was also a Passive House. At the Technical University of Denmark, simulations were systematically carried out, designs were optismised and the first zero-energy house was…

Working systematically in Germany: Hörster, Steinmüller and the Philips Experimental House - 1974

The Philips Experimental House (from: Hörster et al))

parallel to the Scandinavian and American developments, a systematic study of energy-efficient buildings was carried out in Germany by H. Hörster (research group leader), B. Steinmüller (building models and simulations) and others, with…

Pioneers in North America: William A. Shurcliff and Wayne Shick - 1970s-1980s

Example of a "super-insulated home" in the USA

A whole series of North American developments ("super-insulated houses") in the 70s and 80s were very close to the Passive House. William A. Shurcliff (1981) authored many publications on this subject. One of the early examples is the…

The Passive House at an altitude of 2164 m: The Rocky Mountains Institute (rmi) by A. and H. Lovins - 1984

The "Rocky Mountains Institute (rmi)" by A. and H. Lovins. (Foto: rmi)

Amory Lovins, who is well-known for his publications about alternative energy, did not stop at the theory. He built an extremely well-insulated solar passive house in Old Snowmass in Colorado, at an altitude of 2164 meters. Tropical…

The "Nulli" in Dörpe - 1989

The "Zero-energy house" in Dörpe near Hannover.

The "zero-energy house" by Erhard Wiers-Keiser and the organisation for "Ecological Future Workshop for Minimum-energy and Zero-energy Houses e.V." (1989) was calculated as having smaller demand values than a Passive House, but unfortunately…

Super-low-energy houses by Hans Eek - 1985

Ingolstadt-Halmstadt: Low-energy houses (30 kWh/(m²a) heating demand) in two countries, by Architekt Hans Eek (1985)

Sweden paved the way for the success of the "low-energy house". Experience with complicated and unreliable technology had taught them the right way to do things: a high level of airtightness, very good insulation, good windows, reliable…

The energy-autarchic solar house in Freiburg - 1990

The energy-autarchic solar house of the ISE in Freiburg. The building is used as a Passive House today.

The "energy-autarchic solar house" (ISE, Freiburg 1991/92, Wilhelm Stahl) was built around the same time as the Passive House in Darmstadt. It is also very similar to the Passive House. The sometimes very complicated autarchic supply…

The Passive House in Darmstadt Kranichstein - 1991

Passive House in Darmstadt Kranichstein, southern side

A team of scientists participated in the "Passive House Preparatory Research Project" – an international cooperation in which Bo Adamson and Gerd Hauser were also involved. With funding by the State of Hesse, a systematic research on the…

The Passive House in Kranichstein - 1991

Passive House Kranichstein, northern side

With normal use of the homes, this project confirmed the faultless functioning of all essential components – uninterruptedly to this day (…still true in March 2014). The measured energy consumption for heating has remained less than 10…

Ecocor - 2014

Ecocor becomes North America's first manufacturer of prefab Passive Houses

We're proud to announce that we are the first certified Passive House component manufacturer outside of Europe. Check out our Passive House Components. Our Panelized Construction approach to passive house building is perfect for all high…

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