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7 Pioneer Passivhaus Projects of 2011

The Passive House movement in the US was on a major tear in 2011 but for that awful split between PHIUS and international PHI.  The standard seemed free of maneuvers and politics and infighting, yet now there’s something about PHIUS+ certification and a ban on spray polyurethane foam insulation.  Oh boy!  Notwithstanding all of this, let’s not take anything from the following incredible, high-performance, completed projects discussed in the past year that sought or achieved Passive House certification.

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15 Terrific Tiny House Projects of 2011

I’ve seen the tiny house thrive in 2011 like none other.  People behind these structures — whether a tiny home, shed, backyard office, ADU, or off-season retreat — seem to have a little Thoreau inside.  Nonetheless, please keep this in mind: only about 5% of the population would ever dream to live in a tiny house.  Is this for you?  Here’s a little round up of the built projects that we covered in 2011, in no particular order.  Click the text below for more and use your tabs for hours of reading.

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LEED Gold Hall Built with 184 Modules

SUNY’s Centennial Hall, a student dorm completed this summer, has earned LEED Gold certification, according to gbNYC, making it one of the largest modular construction projects in the state of New York.  It’s not the only modular student building — The Modules is but another modular project on my mind — though The Centennial showcases what’s good about off-site construction with a total of about 184 wood modules.

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ZETA Completes Affordable NZE Homes

This is an update to a prior article about Tierra del Sol, a community of 22 prefab, starter homes, located in Stockton, California.  Built in modules by California-based ZETA Communities, the homes in Tierra del Sol have three bedrooms, two baths, and 1,268 square feet.  They’re homes are also expected to use about 45% less energy each than a typical home.

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Pallet House Prototype by I-Beam Design

Today my alma mater Southern Methodist University celebrates a new master’s degree program in sustainability and development.  The degree covers sustainability-related topics from policy to design in both developed and developing worlds.  SMU will kick off the endeavor mid-day Friday with London sustainability strategist Peter Bishop and the unveiling of a low-cost Pallet House prototype designed by I-Beam Design.

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Passive Makes Perfect in North Carolina

When we first profiled Anchorage Builders in 2010, they were in the construction phase of North Carolina’s first Passive House.  We followed up with the project in a subsequent post and were quite impressed with the completed home, both aesthetically and sustainably.  Building on this successful experience, Anchorage and architect Jay Fulkerson have recently collaborated on yet another Chapel Hill home designed with Passive House building methods.

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