MinnePHit House

2017 International Passive House Days

TE Studio and its Clients are once more participating in the international Passive House Days. The MinnePHit House will be open to the public on November 12, 2017, from Noon until 5pm. There will be a lecture showcasing the project at 2pm. Find details at the Passive House database.

MinnePHit House in NAPHN Passive House Flip Book

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.15.21 PM

 

The MinnePHit House is being featured in NAPH Network’s latest Passive House Flip Book. Check it out here. It’s free.

2013 International Passive House Days

Please Join Us For The 2013 International Passive House Days

TE Studio is a co-founder and proud supporter of the local Passive House Alliance chapter.  Please join us for an opportunity to learn about and experience Passive House—the World’s most comfortable and energy effcient building standard.
Three of our designs will be open to the public on November 9 and 10, 2013.

PHitW

Passive House in the Woods, Konkol Residence
Wisconsin’s first certified Passive House; net-energy positive energy performance

Open November 9 from 9 to 11:30AM.

908 Kirkwood Way North
Town of Hudson, WI 54016

Project Overview

 

 

MinnePHit HouseMinnePHit House, Brazelton Residence
The first certified Passive House retrofit (EnerPHit) in a cold-climate

Open November 9 from 2 to 4 PM

5605 Bloomington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Project Overview

 

 

Passive House Farm

Northfield Passive House Farm

Open November 10 from 10:30 AM to Noon.

2713 Union Lake Trail
Northfield MN 55057

Project Overview

Passive House Retrofit Pilot Project

Today’s mail brought us the official EnerPHit wall plaque for the MinnePHit House project. This building is officially one of the highest-performing retrofit buildings in a cold climate anywhere.

MinnePHit EnerPHit wall plaque and certificate

MinnePHit House is First Cold-Climate Passive House Retrofit

MinnePHit House EnerPHit certificate

The MinnePHit House received the Passivhaus Institute’s EnerPHit certification—making it the first cold-climate retrofit they ever certified. We were fortunate to partner with the PHI on this pilot project, which leverages their brand new retrofit certification program. We are excited about this milestone, and the fact that EnerPHit works in US climate zone 6 for a home that is over 80 years old. The results are truly amazing.

 

Article in Remodeling Magazine

Remodeling Logo

Recently we were interviewed by Remodeling Magazine about our EnerPHit project in South Minneapolis. This project is a pilot EnerPHit project our office designed. Certification is in progress with the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany.

You can read the entire article here.

Upcoming Lecture Announcements

Passive House Retrofits – The MinnePHit House

9/12/2012: 5 – 7.30 PM

TE Studio Office: 212 2nd St. SE #2222, Minneapolis, MN 55414

RSVP: Please use this link.

 

2012 National Passive House Conference banner

Lessons Learned From The Passive House In The Woods Project

2012 North American Passive House Conference

9/29/2012: 8 – 10 AM

Marriot City Center, Denver, CO

Earth Week Lecture On 4/25 Featuring MinnePHit

NHCC logo

Thinking about building or remodeling a home, or want to know more about energy efficient technology to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your heating and cooling bills? Tim Eian has focused his architectural skills on incorporating the latest technology in energy efficient new and remodeled homes, which use a tiny fraction of most houses.

This presentation at the North Hennepin Community College highlights the “MinnePHit House” project in South Minneapolis—a deep energy reduction project that turns a 1935 house into a Passive House home.

More information can be found on the North Hennepin County Community College website.

Date: 4/25/2012

Time: 10 – 11 AM

Location: North Hennepin Community College CLA 133

Links: MinnePHit House Website  |  MinnePHit House on Facebook

MinnePHit House update

 

MinnePHit House front elevation

The MinnePHit House is inching closer to completion as the year draws to a close. We are very excited to be part of the project and wish the owners well on their journey toward move-in day.

Star Tribune Article about the MinnePHit House

Start Tribune Home & Garden

11/12/2011: The Star Tribune published an article today about the MinnePHit project: “A house with no furnace? You bet”

MinnePHit House passes rough-in blower door test

MinnePHit House blower door rough-in test

Today, we ran the first blower door test at the MinnePHit House in Minneapolis. The EnerPHit building standard prescribes maximum air-leakage for a retrofit Passive House of 1,0 ACH50 (air changes per hour at 50 Pascal pressure). Converted to CFM50 (cubic feet per minute at 50 Pascals), we were shooting for a magic number of 300 or less. Immediately, the house outperformed this with a reading of 285 CFM. We spent the rest of the morning with help from the Energy Conservatory, Ryan Stegora (builder) and Paul Brazelton (owner) identifying leaks. Some were patched right away—others marked for later improvements. At the end, we measured a steady 267 CFM50, which corresponds to 0.88 ACH50.

MinnePHit House smoke test

We are excited to see that even a 76 year old home can be made virtually airtight, and we are confident that the builder can improve on the performance of this rough-in result for the final test. The Passive House recommendation for retrofits is at 0.6 ACH50 (about 183 CFM50). This means that the home is currently one “Passive House in the Woods total air leakage” from achieving this reach goal. MinnePHit House, airtight ceiling

To put things into perspective, this home started with a blower door result of 8.5 ACH50 and a corresponding 2,100 CFM50 of air leakage. Since then, it grew by almost 40%. Many existing homes we tested over the years in the TwinCities range from 7 to 15 ACH50. According to the Energy Conservatory, average new construction is in the range of 3 – 7 ACH50, with exceptional builders getting down to 1.5 ACH50 on occasion.

MinnePHit House progress photo

We are very pleased with the performance, which also reflects positively on our detailing and specifications.

 

 

Why Airtight Buildings?

A conversation on the MinnePHit website inspired me to write a quick summary of why airtight buildings are a good thing. You can find my response to the thread on the MinnePHit website. I will maintain this article on Google Knol going forward.

 

How airtightness is a good thing when it comes to making sure a building is robust and durable.

This knol was written in response to the common assumption that airtight building envelopes cause problems for buildings.
From the designer’s desk: Airtightness of the building envelope (that’s the walls, slab, and ceiling—basically what separates inside from outside) is essential to efficient and durable buildings.
What caused a lot of problems in the past were envelopes that were not airtight enough!
The leaking of warm moist air into assemblies during periods where conditions are conducive to condensation—combined with lack of drying potential of these assemblies—cause “early building degradation”, a.k.a. rot or mold. By making the shell very air tight, and field testing the tightness—thus eliminating potentially failure points—builders and owners can be assured that no worrisome leaking is occurring. By selecting proper building materials that allow for drying of any moisture inside of assemblies, the designer can further make the building more robust.
So in short, an airtight building envelope is the way to avoid building envelope problems.
One last thought: Airtightness does not mean that moisture cannot migrate through assemblies. A safe approach to building design is to make airtight but vapor-open assemblies. All this means is that leaking into the assemblies is eliminated, and drying potential is increased. This combination warrants safe assemblies in just about any climate zone. Whenever building with wood and organic materials this should be the preferred approach.

The MinnePHit House

The MinnePHit house

At TE Studio we are fortunate enough to attract some pretty incredible people. Most recently, we were commissioned by a couple from South Minneapolis to bring their mid-30s home into the 21st century of performance. A brief description of their family reads like this:

Two grown-ups, three girls, two dogs and eight chickens. A 1935 neo-Tudor in Minneapolis, MN. A passion for the planet.

MinnePHit collage

You can see where we are going with this. With ground-breaking in sight, we are looking to make a Passive House retrofit. “Ze Germans” call it EnerPHit—as in energy efficient passive house retrofit.

EnerPHit logo

This means some significant changes—most noticeably to the building envelope, or those bits that separate inside from out. TE Studio is providing the design for this winter coat. We are looking to sustainable materials in an effort to cut the heating demand to about 12kBTUs, or about three hairdryers going at the same time. 9-1/2″ i-Joists will be screwed to an air-tightened sheathing layer on the outside of the current shell, and dense-packed with cellulose insulation for an R-value of 44. Since we are also adding to the back of the house we decided to design a new “hat” for the home. A trussed hip-roof will provide R-77 of cellulose insulation. Even the basement will be insulated to R-values in the 30s. Combined with an airtightness goal of 1.0 ACH50 or better, this retrofit will meet the requirements set forth in the current draft of the EnerPHit standard. According to the German Passiv Haus Institute, this is the first EnerPHit project in North America.

Mechanical ventilation is a good idea for most buildings, but it is essential for any high-performance building. We designed an ERV-based whole house system with an efficiency rating of over 90%. This means that the precious heating energy will remain inside the envelope while the occupants are supplied with outside air year-round. We are able to recycle the home’s existing boiler and continue to heat the home with in-floor heat. The same boiler will also provide hot water. This project demonstrates the amazing potential of a high-efficiency design for existing homes in a cold climate through a great amount of recycling of what is existing—paired with carefully selected sustainable materials and methods for the retrofit and what is new.

The design is complementary to the building’s origins and surroundings. An open first floor plan will provide much needed space for the family, and offer a connection with the backyard. On the second floor we are adding bed rooms for the kids and an additional bath. At just over 2,000 finished square feet (counting the basement), this is no mansion for 5 people and two dogs, but with its well organized layout, it will be incredibly functional.

We are very excited about this project. The owners are offering updates on the project at http://www.minnephithouse.com

Only one question left to ask: What do the chickens think of this?

MinnePHit Chicken