Letter to the City of Minneapolis

Proposed Minneapolis Homes Policy

November 11, 2020

Minneapolis City Council and Staff,

We would like to commend the City of Minneapolis’ stated desire for all new buildings to be net zero energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, and for the desire to put real money behind these goals.

But we are compelled today to notify you, as your local building professionals, leaders and experts, that the city of Minneapolis is moving forward with a sustainability plan that does not scientifically add up to meeting their own Climate Action Plan.

We are concerned that much city money will be spent on incentives that will achieve minimal results. The ZERH program for home construction will only incrementally improve energy efficiency [per Passive House energy modeling analysis], but nowhere near the level necessary to fight Climate Change and enable a climate-neutral energy infrastructure. Therefore, we feel that now is the time to raise our voices and ask for our representatives to do better.

Instead of the proposed policy as written, we would propose the following:

  • Raise the minimum bar and make the US Department of Energy Zero Ready Homes Standard (ZERH) the minimum (not reach-goal) for all new affordable residential construction projects that receive funds from the Minneapolis Homes Program. As the ZERH standard is only 10-30% better than current code, only small amounts, such as $5,000 for a 1-3-unit building, should be used to assist developing this level of construction for its incremental improvement over the status quo. 
  • Use the proposed up to $90,000 incentive specifically for best-in-class standards such as Passive House that require third party review and certification to prove 80+% over code improvements.

Why Passive House?

  • Passive House is the only standard considered by the City of Minneapolis that has a globally proven 30-year track record of delivering results in the real world. Therefore, the United Nations endorsed the Passive House building energy standard to fight climate change. Only this level of improvement delivers returns that will meet the City, and our World’s, climate action goals. 
  • Passive House lowers energy bills drastically for residents and improves air quality, which addresses important equity and human rights issues in affordable housing.
  • With the scale of its supported housing units, Minneapolis’ Passive House projects will have a transformative impact on the entire community and region.
  • The City of Minneapolis’ Homes program can bring Passive House in the Twin Cities market to the mainstream, and make it a ready-to-implement solution for all owners and developers.
  • Passive House for affordable housing elevates the City of Minneapolis and its constituents’ profile within the local and national community, and serves as a beacon for the sustainable transformation of an industry, which is plagued with obsolescence, deferred maintenance and stigma. It demonstrates leadership and vision—benefits, which transcend any paybacks and life cycle cost advantages.

Once a city like Minneapolis incentivizes a standard like Passive House, they will transform the market for the sustainable future we seek. As more buildings are built, costs drop and familiarity rises. Cities around the US and the world are adopting Passive House and seeing these results. Passive House Minnesota and the NAPHN [North American Passive House Network] community will be providing the City Council with connections to these resources and people, so that they know a global community is out there, ready and willing to assist them in leading the way.

Thank you.

Passive House Minnesota, a chapter of NAPHN


Passive House Questions?

Have you ever wondered how to learn more about Passive House and the Passive House community in North America?

Well, the North American Passive House Network and Passive House Accelerator have you covered. In tandem, we offer lunch and learns, NAPHN Live sessions, an annual conference and Happy Hours. Check out the links below and fill your social media feeds with valuable and meaningful Passive House information:

NAPHN on Facebook

NAPHN on Twitter

NAPHN on YouTube

NAPHN on LinkedIn

Make sure to check out the events calendar and subscribe to the newsletters, too, to never miss another Passive House announcement:

NAPHN Calendar and Newsletter Sign Up

Passive House Accelerator Newsletter Sign Up

Passive House 2020 – Choose Your Future

Passive House 2020 - Choose Your Future

Don’t miss Passive House 2020: Choose Your Future, NAPHN Conference, now online. The largest gathering of Passive House professionals and suppliers, to date, in the US. Its core mission is to demonstrate and discuss how (and why) building owners, developers, and occupants are choosing Passive House to improve outcomes, minimize uncertainty and risk, provide more control, increase performance and enhance well-being.

Every Wednesday Afternoon, 1-4 pm EST for 6 weeks from June 24-July 29.

Sign Up at naphnconference.com

Free Online Lunch & Learn Friday, May 15 at Noon: High Performance Roof Daylighting with 475 High Performance Building Supply

Passive House Minnesota is partnering with 475 High Performance Building Supply’s Jeremy Latriano, CPHT, on a lunch and learn session which covers design considerations for roof daylighting of all types and sizes – commercial or residential, flat or pitched roof, light tube or wall-to-wall roof glass. Proper integration and design decisions result in roof daylighting that addresses energy, light, health, ventilation, comfort, and overall wellness of both occupants and the longevity of the building envelope.

The lunch and learn qualifies for 1 AIA CEU

Join the meeting: join.me/424-333-408

Join by phone Conference ID:  424-333-408 #

Free May 12 PHMN Webinar: All-In-One HVAC Systems for High-Performance Buildings with Alex De Gagné

Join PHMN on May 12, 2020 at 5pm for another free webinar. Alex De Gagné will be joining us from Canada and enlighten us on all-in-one HVAC systems for high-performance buildings.

Time: May 12, 2020 05:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Sign Up for Free: Email Alex and he will share access information prior to the webinar.

Program: Participate in a 1-hour presentation which includes a live session of a fully operational PentaCare V12 from Minotair. This is the all-in-one compact evolutive D+HVAC equipment for Passive Houses, multifamily buildings and anyone who wants to live indoor with one of the best indoor climates possible.

The PentaCare V12 is 4 machines in 1 being: an Active Heat Recovery HRV + a Dehumidifier + a Ducted Air Source Heat Pump + an HEPA MERV 15 Air Filtration device. That cutting edge technology equipment strives at taking care of 5 things: Dehumidification + Heating + Ventilation + Air filtration + Cooling (D+HVAC). Ventilation wise, it’s the only one capable of Net Zero Positive Ventilation© as the most efficient of all HRVs and ERVs with a record-setting SRE of 116% as certified by the HVI. Meaning the PentaCare V12 can output more heat energy that the electrical energy it uses. Only from Minotair, the Science of air.

We’ll also talk briefly about compartmentalization principle for mechanical systems in MF buildings. That principle promotes unit space heating and cooling and hot water being provided by individual mechanical systems located in each unit. Compartmentalization principle for mechanical systems in MF buildings is a principle that as, amongst other sources, clearly explained in a 6-page article from Dr Joseph W. Lstiburek, PH.D., P.ENG., FELLOW ASHRAE who was published in the July 2019 edition of the ASHRAE Journal.

Free May 19 PHMN Webinar: Passive House Windows, Shades and other Goodies with Stephan Tanner

Please join PHMN for another free webinar on May 19, 2020 at 5pm. Stephan Tanner, architect of North America’s first certified Passive House, principal at TE Studio, Intep, co-founder of the 2000-Watt Society and co-owner of Tanner Windows and Peak Building Products will share his story of supplying Passive House windows, shades and other building components in North America over the last 15 years.

  • A brief history of Passive House window technology and why you need it
  • An outline of the differences between a ‘box and a frame window’
  • The components of a high-performance window
  • Glass specs and why they matter
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) vs. exterior shading
  • What the numbers really mean, and why a tool like the PHPP should matter more to professionals

This event has a video call.
Join: https://meet.google.com/koa-xena-fxj

+1 321-529-7744 PIN: 941571560#
View more phone numbers: https://tel.meet/koa-xena-fxj?pin=4701994295548&hs=7

Passive House 2020: “Choose Your Future” Online Conference in June and July

Attend this year’s Passive House conference for an amazing price!


Choose Your Future” is a call to action – to recognize the power of individuals to produce change and to build a movement; a call to not forfeit our influence over events but use it.


Building developers, owners, professionals and policymakers interested in choosing Passive House to improve outcomes, minimize uncertainty and risk, provide more control, increase performance and enhance well-being.


Virtual building tours will occur the day after the virtual conference. There will also l be in-depth workshops following in June and July. Join us as industry professionals show how to leverage the international Passive House Standard, and choose their futures.

Register: https://naphnconference.com/tickets/

Certified Passive House Designer Training (CPHD) Now Available Online For All!

Haven’t been able to take CPHD training yet, now is your chance! We are now offering our CPHD training online so it is accessible to everyone.

NAPHN’s (North American Passive House Network) Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant course is the premier training program for Passive House building professionals. 

  • 5 days of online instruction
  • 7 additional e-learning modules 
  • Thorough grounding of critical aspects of Passive House design and construction 
  • Receive a 5-year registration as an internationally accredited CPHD/C after passing exam
  • For all building professionals: architects, MEP and structural engineers, builders and construction managers and more

What: NAPHN’s Online Certified Passive House Designer Training

When: May 11-15th (9-5 each day)


Details to follow when you registerWebsite link for more info & registration: https://naphnetwork.org/designer-training/