Gallery: First Certified Passive House Ever in the Western US!


(photo credit: Amanda Nelson Photography)

The first certified Passive House in Salt Lake City also happens to be the first certified Passive House in the Western US. The Breezeway House, designed by Brach Design Architecture and Illinois-based Passive House Institute was recently completed in December of 2009, and is now only 1 of 10 houses in the US to be certified under this super efficient green building certification program!

The Breezeway House, located in Millcreek just outside of Salt Lake City, is a 2,800 sq foot, 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home. The modern residence relies on super tight insulation, solar passive design and a mechanical ventilation system for super efficient control of the indoor climate. Operable windows are also available as another means of ventilation during the more moderate times of the year in Salt Lake City. The home also includes a 2.2 kW solar system on the roof and is so energy efficient that that system can provide about 75% of its energy needs.

The Passive House Standard was originally developed by Bo Adamson along with German Physicist Wolfgang Feist, who built the first passive house in Germany in 1990. Feist created an open source software program to perform energy modeling for building in order to optimize the design for energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Dave Brach, the only Passive House consultant in the Utah area, said, “We need to start relying on smart design and low-energy passive solutions that assure comfort… It doesn’t make sense to rely on expensive and energy guzzling mechanical equipment to heat and cool our buildings anymore.”

+ Brach Design Architecture

+ Passive House Institute


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  1. hunboon May 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve always been fascinated by insulation, after visiting Scandinavia where the extreme cold weather has made insulation a necessity.

    I saw an old episode of BBC’s Grand Designs recently, featuring a house with straw bale walls. The material is supposed to have excellent insulation properties and will make the house almost passive.

    Hun Boon

  2. CLAM May 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Congratulations! Very cool!

    And if you want to see the 1st new certified Passive House in California as it is built, go to

    Rae Levine for CLAM, (Community Land Trust Association of West Marin)

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