Started in Germany over 10 years ago by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, the Passive House Standard is the highest “building energy standard” in the world. Using careful design and construction methods, the energy usage of the house is reduced by up to 90%! (Imagine your energy bill- for heating, cooking, electricity, hot water, etc- to be about $120 for a 3 bed, 2 bath house, in the middle of winter, in Illinois- COLD, WET winters!) PHIUS founder, Katrin Klingenberg, learned how to design and construct these super-insulated, air- tight, energy efficient homes from Dr. Feist and then brought that knowledge to the US. There are now 10 certified Passive Houses in the US, with more under construction. With the building sector sucking up so much of our valuable resources, Passive Houses offer a compelling alternative way to construct our buildings. If, as a nation, we are able to vastly reduce our consumption of non-renewable energy resources, we will be able to meet our demand with clean, renewable energy much sooner/ more easily and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Germany and Austria are already making great strides in this direction- I hope that the US can get caught up! I’ll explain in more detail what makes this homes so unique but in the meantime, I encourage you to check out PHIUS and the work that they are doing to help our world use less energy while providing beautiful, comfortable homes for people.