The Passive House Network & Passive House Rocky Mountains Announces the 2023 Ice Box Challenge Colorado Tour

The Ice Box Challenge is a public installation event that demonstrates the power of Passive House design and construction and will take place in Fort Collins, Louisville, and Denver over the course of this summer.

Denver, CO, June 14, 2023 – The Passive House Network, with its chapter, Passive House Rocky Mountains, announced three new Ice Box Challenge events to take place in Fort Collins, July 1-15, Louisville, July 28-August 11, and in Denver, September 9-23.

The Ice Box Challenge is a public installation event that demonstrates the power of Passive House design and construction by comparing two similar structures, one built to typical code standards and the other to the rigorous Passive House standard.

“By physically comparing the performance of our typical buildings with high-performance Passive House construction, people can viscerally experience building science in action,” said local Fort Collins architect Greg Fisher, a leader of Passive House Rocky Mountains and event co-organizer. “There is something about seeing how the ice reacts to the heat, in each case – it’s public education that makes it real.”

For each event, the two boxes will be placed in public, exposed to the heat of the summer. At the opening kick-off ceremony, both boxes will be filled with 1 ton of ice. The public can participate in the contest by submitting their best guess for the final weight of the ice in each box for prizes.

“Guessing the ultimate weight difference is a compelling way to get people to think about the science, the details, and strategies that drive performance,” explains Jessica Hunter, a Denver architect and a long-time leader of the Colorado Green Building Guild. Adding, “Why does one building perform so much better than the other? It’s a conversation we need to have.”

At each stop on the tour over the two weeks, there will be educational events, and the public can visit, witness, and learn about the Passive House building standard. At the end of two weeks, at each location, there will be a reveal ceremony, the final weights determined, and a discussion of how such performance can help us all build better.

“Building for future resilience means building to performance standards like Passive House; well insulated and airtight, keeping out the heat or cold and smoke,” said Mark Attard, a local builder from Louisville and a Passive House Rocky Mountains leader, whose home narrowly escaped the Marshall Fire. “We can do this.”

The Ice Box Challenge is being coordinated with The Passive House Network’s annual national conference, happening online on September 28 and in Denver at the McNichols Civic Center Building on October 4-5.

Find out more about the Ice Box Challenge 2023 Tour here:

Find out more about the Passive House Network Conference here:

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About PHN:

The Passive House Network (PHN), formerly known as NAPHN, is a 501(c)3 that provides Passive House high-performance building education and resources to professionals across the U.S. that transform how they think and work with buildings. PHN provides professionals a complete skill set to reliably produce new and renovated buildings that use dramatically less energy for effective and affordable climate action.

About PHI:

The Passive House Institute (PHI) is an independent research institute that has played an especially crucial role in the development of the Passive House concept – the only internationally recognized, performance-based energy standard in construction.

About Passive House:

Passive House is an international building standard and methodology, applicable to buildings of all kinds, from office buildings to hospitals, new-build, and renovations, that results in a dramatic drop in operational energy use and more comfortable and healthy occupants – meant to mitigate our climate crisis while providing resilient adaptation aggressively.

The Passive House Standard was developed by the Passive House Institute (PHI), an independent scientific research organization located in Darmstadt, Germany, and includes specific requirements for energy use and the comfort of occupants. The Passive House Standard is being successfully applied to thousands of buildings and millions of square feet around the world, from Boston to Beijing.

The Passive House methodology starts with reducing cooling, dehumidification, and heating loads by focusing not on gadgets and active technology but instead on fully integrated durable passive building components, such as proper continuous thermal-bridge-free insulation, continuous airtightness, high-performance windows and doors, and ventilation that includes a high-efficiency heat/energy recovery core, carefully calculated, and all integrated with the entire architectural process of design and construction.

The International Passive House Association is a membership, communications, and global community-building arm of the Passive House Institute with over 30 affiliated regional Passive House organizations worldwide.