Thanks for visiting the TE Studio booth

Thanks to all that visited the TE Studio booth at the Living Green Expo! We had a great time and enjoyed talking with all of you about Passive House and Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit. We look forward to working with some of you to  maximize your investment and minimize its impact on the environment.
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Free Event Reminder: Living Green Expo this weekend

TE Studio at the Living Green Expo
May 2-3, 2009: Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. / Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Living Green Expo Logo

Minnesota State Fair Grounds (Saint Paul)
Booth J-6

We’ll be showcasing Passive House building energy standard and the Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit concept. We look forward to meeting with you.

Tim Eian confirmed as speaker at Green by Design Conference

Passive House Certified Building Energy Standard
Thursday, June 11, 2009: Time t.b.a.
Minnesota Green Communities
Green by Design 2009 banner
The Depot – Minneapolis
225 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Call 612.375.1700

Lecture Reminder

Passive House Building Energy Standard
Tuesday, April 7 2009, 11.15 AM – 12.30 PM
Invitation by the Architecture and Ecology & Environmental Technology courses

U of M logo
University of Minnesota – Rapson Hall
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Earth Hour – lights off!

I was just alerted to Earth Hour, a WWF supported event that is coming up this Saturday. As a reader of my blog, you may want to participate and become part of Earth Hour.


You have successfully registered to turn out and take action for Earth Hour 2009. On March 28, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. local time, you will join hundreds of millions of people around the world in making a bold statement about climate change. By turning off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour, you will send a message that Americans care about this issue and stand with the rest of the world in finding solutions to the escalating climate crisis.

As a participant, there are several ways to ensure Earth Hour 2009 is a success. Earth Hour encourages individuals, educational institutions, organizations, businesses, and cities to sign up and participate. Spread the word by inviting them to join.

Take it a step further, and urge your elected officials to turn out the lights and take strong action to fight climate change.

One person committed to reducing energy consumption can make a difference, but millions working together can change the world. The Earth Hour Team will communicate with you to ensure you’re receiving up-to-date highlights and additional ways to make Earth Hour the most successful climate changing event in history.

Earth Hour 2009–WWF’s global climate change movement.

March 28, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. Turn out. Take action.

The Systems Approach

I just read a passage in ACI‘s “Moving Homes Toward Carbon Neutrality” whitepaper that I find to be a wonderful summary of the paradigm shift the building industry needs to accomplish. In my opinion designers, contractors and homeowners alike need to consider the building as a system in order to understand how to make significant and truly valuable improvements—not just in regards to energy.

In housing we have discovered that moisture and mold problems, combustion spillage, and indoor air pollution can only be addressed by the systems approach, whereas the component by component approach of old did not work. With all of these problems, the interactions between components of the house were very important, but were not always obvious when we looked at one component or area at a time. For example, while the moisture problem may have seemed worse in the bedroom of a sick child, it often started either outside or in the basement/crawl space. Combustion spillage problems in the utility room were sometimes caused by the powerful new kitchen range hood. Changing a natural draft furnace to a high-efficiency one, without introducing controlled, low-rate ventilation, often resulted in the build-up of pollution indoors that was worse than the occasional spillage problem from that furnace. All these were system problems and they were much more easily identified when the systems approach was used.

I encourage anybody who is thinking about remodeling to look at ACI’s whitepaper and consider the opportunities it highlights. A building is like a set of dominoes: tip the first one over and a whole bunch of others will start to fall also. Each component has an impact on other components. Together, they work in concert—creating a wonderful symphony, or a ghastly amount of noise. It is therefore of utmost importance to carefully and decisively create a retrofit composition that enhances the features as well as the performance of a building, and returns the favor with a Whole that is greater than the sum of its parts (okay, I borrowed that one from the last Passive House conference).

Beauty, delight, performance, efficiency: those are some of the things that fascinate me with buildings. Hence the company slogan: beautiful, resource-efficient buildings. The systems approach is key to success on these fronts.

Lecture Announcement—U of M

Passive House Building Energy Standard
Tuesday, April 7 2009, 11.15 AM – 12.30 PM
U of M logo
University of Minnesota – Rapson Hall
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

First Passive House Interest Group Meeting, Summary

Last Saturday, a group of people who are interested in Passive House gathered at the Red Stag Supperclub in Minneapolis to exchange thoughts, ask questions, and share visions. Fourteen guests joined host Tim Eian and special guest Stephan Tanner for a 2+ hour long event. The group was comprised of people who are interested in building a Passive House, educators, students and professionals.

Stephan and Tim shared the basics of Passive House design in a cold-climate. Stephan offered insight in some of the specific challenges of building the Biohaus in Bemidji, MN. He also covered many building design-related questions and talked about materials available in the U.S., while Tim answered questions about Passive House education through PHIUS (Passive House Institute U.S.) and ongoing work in his practice.

A great part of the discussion focused on similarities and differences between “standard” construction and Passive House design. Stephan offered the comparison of the 150 mpg car. He pointed out that while standard design and construction practices can yield incrementally higher performance utilizing existing paradigms, Passive House in a cold climate offers a leapfrog approach with extreme performance. At the same time, Stephan cautioned of a much smaller margin of error as well as the requirement for great attention to detail in both planning and execution.

As a group, we decided to collect thoughts and ideas following this first meeting to develop a schedule and agenda for future events.

I invite you to send your comments and thoughts to help with this process.

Event Reminder: PH Lecture at MN CEE today

Introduction to Passive House Building Energy Standard
Wednesday, February 25, 2009  11.30 AM
Center for Energy and Envrionment
212 3rd Avenue North, Suite 560
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 335-5858

This is not a public event!

Reminder: PH Interest Group Meeting

First Twin Cities Passive House Interest Group Meeting
Saturday, February 21, 2009  10 AM to Noon
Red Stag Supperclub
509 1st Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 767-7766

IT Public Lecture: Beyond Fossil Fools

Beyond Fossil Fools Lecture
The U of M recently published a lecture by Joe Shuster, the author of “Beyond Fossil Fools”. It is great to have these lectures in the public realm. While Passive House’s biggest concern is conservation, this is still a very interesting recording with a focus on energy. Please click this link to view the lecture.

First Twin Cities Passive House Interest Group Meeting

The first Twin Cities Passive House Interest Group Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 21, 2009  from 10 AM to Noon at the Red Stag Supperclub at 509 1st Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413. Please RSVP by 2/14/2009 to

Directions to the Red Stag Supperclub

Event Reminder: Talk at GAI tomorrow, Tuesday

“Passiv Haus Vorlesung”
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 – 11.30 PM to 1.00 PM (30 minute lecture in German)

Germanic American Institute Saint Paul
Stammtisch – Senior Luncheon
301 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-7027

Mark your calendar, Living Green Expo '09

TE Studio at the Living Green Expo
May 2-3, 2009: Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. / Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Living Green Expo Logo
Minnesota State Fair Grounds (Saint Paul)

Transatlantic Climate Bridge

Transatlantic Climate published a website dedicated to the Transatlantic Climate Bridge: “For decades, Americans and Europeans have joined forces successfully to address the key challenges facing us. Today, an opportunity exists to tackle the common challenge of climate change and energy security together in the form of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge.”

One subsection focuses on the potential of Passive House design. Please find the article using this link. The Transatlantic Climate Bridge website can be found at this link.