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PHIUS Milestones


  • Katrin Klingenberg breaks ground on the first passive house to be built in the United States, the Smith House, in Urbana, Illinois.


  • Klingenberg's Smith House is the first residential passive house project completed in the United States.


  • Klingenberg and builder Mike Kernagis found the non-profit e-cological Construction Laboratory (e-colab) as a non-profit affordable housing developer in Urbana, Illinois to further investigate the feasibility of applying passive building principles in the United States.
  • Klingenberg helps to translate the first English-language version of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP).


  • E-colab becomes the first distributor of the PHPP in the United States.
  • Kernagis becomes the construction manager at e-colab.
  • E-colab, in partnership with the City of Urbana, builds Fairview I, the first affordable single-family passive house unit in the United States.


  • The first Annual North American Passive House Conference is held in Bemidji, Minnesota, drawing 26 participants.


  • E-colab, in partnership with the City of Urbana, completes Fairview II, the second affordable passive house unit in Urbana. Fairview II is also the first passive building project in the United States to employ prefabricated panels and a mini-split heat pump.
  • Klingenberg and Kernagis launch Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) to train consultants and certify projects in North America.


  • PHIUS conducts the first ever Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC ®) training in the United States and administers the first English-language, North American-focused consultant exam.


  • PHIUS develops an Imperial system (inch-pound) version of the PHPP and implements it in the CPHC training program. The conversion greatly enhances instruction and accelerates adoption of passive house in the United States.
  • PHIUS conducts the first ever CPHC training program in Canada at Ryerson University in Toronto.
  • Under an operating agreement with the German PHI, PHIUS certifies its first project, the Breezeway House in Salt Lake City, Utah.


  • Professor and architect Corey Saft, consulting with PHIUS on challenges related to latent humidity loads, completes the first certified passive house project in the Deep South.
  • PHIUS certifies the first passive house retrofit project in North America, the O'Neill Residence in Sonoma, California.
  • PHIUS certifies the first commercial passive building in North America, the CEED Project School in Franklin County, Virginia.
  • PHIUS hosts the 5th Annual North American Passive House Conference in Portland, Oregon with nearly 350 in attendance, and launches Passive House Alliance US (PHAUS), the national passive house membership-based organization and chapter network.


  • PHIUS holds the first passive house “Train-the-Trainer” program in North America, laying the groundwork for expansion of training programs across the continent.
  • PHIUS holds the first Project Certifier Training program in North America.
  • PHIUS holds the first PHIUS+ Rater training in North America, instructing RESNET-certified raters on how to evaluate passive house projects and assign accurate and meaningful HERS Index scores.


  • PHIUS launches the RESNET-sanctioned PHIUS+ QA/QC program, the first formal quality assurance program for passive buildings. PHIUS+ projects also earn RESNET HERS scores, a widely accepted energy metric.
  • The first PHIUS Certified Builder Training program is held in Urbana, Illinois. The four-day program focuses on the construction management and detailing challenges unique to passive building.


  • PHIUS enters partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE). PHIUS+ certified residential projects now earn the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) credential.
  • The CPHC training program is split into a two-part format consisting of the Phase I online program and the Phase II in-class session, thus making the program more accessible and affordable.
  • PHIUS launches the Verified Window Performance Data Program to make verified building component performance data readily available to passive building practitioners. 


  • In partnership with Building Science Corporation under a Building America grant from the DOE, PHIUS completes research and testing for a new climate-specific passive building standard for North America. 


  • PHIUS releases the climate-specific PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard – North America, providing designers and builders cost-effective and ambitious carbon and energy reduction targets for their climate zones.
  • The Annual North American Passive House Conference celebrates its 10th year.


  • PHIUS reaches the milestone of over 1.1 million square feet of PHIUS+ certified and pre-certified projects across 1,200 units in North America.
  • With the support of a generous grant from the MacArthur Foundation, PHIUS launches the Multifamily Resource Center to serve as an information hub for developers, policymakers, and investors in the design, financing, and execution of passive buildings.


  • For the first time ever, PHIUS has more multifamily project submissions for PHIUS+ certification than single family homes.


  • Over 1 million square feet of PHIUS+ certified and pre-certified projects across North America in 2018 alone, more than doubling 2017 numbers by May of 2018.
  • PHIUS launches the Commercial Resource Center to serve as an information hub and promote passive building outside of the residential sphere.
  • PHIUS launches PHIUS+ 2018, the first updated revision to the PHIUS+ 2015 standard.

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