Completed in 1996 near Stuttgart, Germany, das minimalhaus was our first R2000 prototype, designed while I was still an architecture student at the University of Stuttgart. Ulrich Queck (qbatur.de), a friend and extraordinary carpenter and architect developed my sketches for the concept from ‘das kubushaus‘ into a functional program for the client and built it the next Summer. This was when the ‘Neidrigenergiehaus’ standard was coming into full force and ‘Passivhaus’ would develop as an offshoot from that static, spreadsheet-based approach to whole-house thermal review. The concept has functioned flawlessly for 23 years and even supported the expansion as anticipated by Ulrich.
This 100% CO2-neutral home features integral PV that produces 400kWh more electricity than it consumes annually. The home is heated by 3,000kWh (annual) of carbon-neutral wood heating (soapstone stove) complete with an integral hot water loop and solar DHW. That’s equivalent to 0.8 of a cord, or 3 cubic metres of local birch per year. Other features are air-tight gasketed plywood interiors, 30cm of cellulose insulation in the walls, triple-glazing, Larch wood rainscreen cladding and optimized Area to Volume ratio (cube). The owners are still as happy with it as the first day they moved in. Zero carbon footprint for 23 years. TEUI is 24.76 kWh/m2*yr, and 36.19 after the renovation. (Just to compare, Passivhaus is allowed 15kWh/m2*yr heating energy, so we’re double that, but it also allows a grand total of 120kWh/m2*yr, which we are well under) We plan a re-boot of this design in Ontario slated to start construction in Spring 2019.