Acadia Klain is the communications coordinator for our Passive House Pennsylvania chapter and has been spearheading multiple in-person Passive House events in the Pittsburgh area.

How did you get interested in Passive House design and why are you working to promote it?

I grew up in a highly insulated passive solar house designed and built by my parents, neither of whom are in the building and construction industry. I went to architecture school at Carnegie Mellon University, largely because of the school’s focus on sustainability. It took a while for me to realize how broad and general of a term “sustainability” is when describing buildings. I didn’t understand how much the generality of the term bothered me until I came across Passive House and realized that it is based on performance, rather than prescriptive requirements, which just makes so much sense in its simplicity. To me, Passive House is the simplest way for the building industry to vastly decrease energy usage with the potential to slow global warming.

What kinds of Passive House events have you been organizing and why do you think it’s important for people to get together in-person?

I got my CPHD and joined Passive House PA (PHPA) in the midst of the pandemic, so in-person events were not on the table. Being new to the group, it was hard to feel like a community of like-minded folks when we were just on Zoom calls. Now that most people are comfortable being in-person again, I’m working with the PHPA team in the Pittsburgh area to get people back together, and trying to get more new people involved as well. Repeating past events like Wall Section Throwdowns has been a great way to use a format that’s been done before, but introducing new walls and new people to the conversation. It’s easy to remain in our silos when we meet virtually, so the in-person conversations are so important to build camaraderie and reinforce the goal of sharing knowledge to make a collective impact.

What do you like to do in your free time?

This year’s lack of winter thwarted my goals of teaching my kids to snowboard and cross country ski, but we did get a couple days in! But, the lack of winter did keep me on my bike more. I’ve always commuted by bike and more recently started racing gravel and road races.