"Time to think of the na­tion­al eco­nomy"

Tak­ing ac­tion for cli­mate change - par­ti­cipants praise "Achieve Bet­ter Build­ings!"

The meas­ur­ing device showed more than 84 decibels! It was clear that the story about the im­pro­vised Blower-Door test in Kaza­kh­stan was the win­ner of the first-ever Pass­ive House Slam at the Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce in Heidel­berg. The may­or of Wall­dorf re­ceived the most ap­plause dur­ing an earli­er pan­el dis­cus­sion. This was ap­par­ent even without a meas­ur­ing device. May­or Chris­ti­ane Staab de­man­ded that for cli­mate pro­tec­tion and so­ci­ety in gen­er­al it was ne­ces­sary to think in terms of the na­tion­al eco­nomy rather than busi­ness eco­nom­ics. At the con­clu­sion, Dr Wolfgang Feist in­vited the par­ti­cipants to the 23rd In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce in China in Oc­to­ber. He also re­vealed the city that will host the 2020 Con­fer­en­ce.




Wall­dorf with its pop­u­la­tion of around 16 000 is not only a fair trade city but is also act­ively in­volved in cli­mate pro­tec­tion meas­ures. For this reas­on, com­mun­al build­ings in Wall­dorf are built to a highly en­ergy ef­fi­cient stand­ard, as May­or Staab men­tioned dur­ing the pan­el dis­cus­sion on the de­mand for the Pass­ive House Stand­ard. She is already look­ing for­ward to an­oth­er kinder­garten built to the Pass­ive House Stand­ard. As a moth­er, she at­tached great value to sus­tain­able con­struc­tion. There­fore, she urged that in view of the con­se­quences of cli­mate change, it is ne­ces­sary to think in terms of the na­tion­al in­terest and eco­nomy rather than just simplist­ic busi­ness terms. May­or Staab also called for a stronger com­mit­ment to en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion: "Ac­tu­ally I wish that people would do that of their own free will, but cli­mate change is for­cing us to im­pose reg­u­la­tions."

No in­cent­ives

Dur­ing this lively pan­el dis­cus­sion the  in­form­a­tion that the sub­se­quent costs for CO2 emis­sions of a build­ing should be cal­cu­lated in­to the con­struc­tion costs was con­trib­uted by the audi­en­ce. Ar­chi­tect Georg Zielke of Darm­stadt poin­ted out that Pass­ive House build­ings do not have to be more ex­pens­ive than con­ven­tion­ally built houses. He cri­ti­cised the fact that cur­rent policies do not provide enough in­cent­ives for ex­tremely en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion.

Praise for the new format

The par­ti­cipants of the con­fer­en­ce praised this form of dis­cus­sion that al­lowed act­ive ex­change with the audi­en­ce. Though, the first round saw the pan­el­lists con­sist­ing of ar­chi­tects on the one hand, and the audi­en­ce with ex­perts for en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion on the oth­er hand, largely di­vided on the com­pat­ib­il­ity of build­ing cul­ture and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. However, ar­chi­tect Achim Söder de­clared with sup­port from the audi­en­ce that re­quire­ments for fire pro­tec­tion and le­gion­ella pre­ven­tion re­stric­ted cre­at­iv­ity far more than meas­ures for high­er en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.


Christiane Staab, Mayor of the City of Walldorf
Panel discussion on the demand for Passive House buildings




En­ergy ef­fi­ciency, of course

One of the open­ing present­a­tions in Heidel­berg's Town Hall was de­livered by the En­vir­on­ment Min­is­ter of the Ger­man state of Baden-Württem­berg, Franz Un­ter­steller. "Make en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion a self-evid­ent fact already dur­ing the plan­ning pro­cess", said Min­is­ter Un­ter­steller. He also called for tax con­ces­sions for build­ing mod­ern­isa­tions. The Lord May­or of Heidel­berg, Eck­art Würzn­er high­lighted the fast-grow­ing city's com­mit­ment to cli­mate pro­tec­tion. This com­mit­ment does not only in­clude the new Pass­ive House Bahn­stadt dis­trict, also a zero-emis­sions dis­trict,  but oth­er pub­lic build­ings, such as a new large sports hall be­ing built to the Pass­ive House Stand­ard. May­or Würzn­er also stated that Heidel­berg had re­duced the en­ergy con­sump­tion of all com­mun­al prop­er­ties by half and is im­ple­ment­ing its Mas­ter Plan for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion 2050.

Minister Untersteller demanded tax relief for building refurbishment
Wolfgang Feist, founder of Passive House Institute

Civ­il­ised co­ex­ist­en­ce will soon be at risk

In his open­ing speech,  IBA Dir­ect­or Pro­fess­or Mi­chael Braum made the case for so­ci­et­al re­think­ing in re­gards to reas­on­able and sens­ible levels of con­sump­tion. He also ad­vanced that it was ne­ces­sary to "bring to­geth­er sec­tor­al op­tim­isa­tions" in the build­ing sec­tor. The founder of the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te, Dr Wolfgang Feist once again urged that so­ci­ety must com­mence im­me­di­ately the ser­i­ous meas­ures re­quired to ad­dress the cli­mate emer­gency, oth­er­wise civ­il­ised co­ex­ist­en­ce would soon be at risk. The pre­vi­ously ad­op­ted route of "busi­ness as usu­al" was no longer sus­tain­able. However, drastic meas­ures also hold risks for the sta­bil­ity of so­ci­ety, ex­plained Feist.



Eckart Würzner, Heidelberg's Lord Mayor


In­tensi­fy en­ergy turn­around 

Im­prov­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency through the Pass­ive House concept, is a path­break­ing solu­tion for sus­tain­able eco­nom­ic act­iv­ity and will en­hance cli­mate pro­tec­tion, Dr Feist ex­plained. With a Pass­ive House build­ing, the en­ergy re­quired for a good level of in­su­la­tion and fur­ther im­prove­ments is already saved with­in one and a half years at the most, and CO2 emis­sions are then  drastic­ally re­duced as a res­ult. Feist in­sis­ted: "The en­ergy re­volu­tion has been much ma­ligned by many sides, but that's not right. We must build on this and in­tensi­fy our ef­forts!”


Smoke with an e-ci­gar­ette

Mi­chael Mey­er-Ol­ber­sleben stood at the air­port in Kaza­kh­stan in front of an empty bag­gage re­claim belt. The en­gin­eer went straight to a loc­al DIY store and put to­geth­er new ap­par­at­us for the planned Blower-Door test.  To gen­er­ate the smoke re­quired to identi­fy the non-air­tight places, he ob­tained the help of the smoker of an e-ci­gar­ette. With this en­ter­tain­ing story, Mey­er-Ol­ber­sleben won the first Pass­ive House Slam con­test (Ger­man ver­sion), held by the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te. The award for the Eng­lish Slam went to en­gin­eer Mari­us Sof­lete of Ro­mania. He amused the audi­en­ce with a tail from a con­struc­tion site where a chain­saw made life very dif­fi­cult for him.


The winner of the German Passive House Slam (left)

Spe­cial­ists Ex­hib­i­tion

After the Pass­ive House Slam, the big net­work­ing party took place amongst the im­press­ive sur­round­ings of the Town Hall it­self. The par­ti­cipants of the Spe­cial­ists Ex­hib­i­tion were thus also in­cluded in the event. Dur­ing the "Achieve Bet­ter Build­ings!" con­fer­en­ce the ex­hib­it­ors presen­ted their products for en­ergy ef­fi­cient con­struc­tion and ret­ro­fit­ting. The party ended an in­tens­ive day of ex­pert talks and work­shops de­mon­strat­ing how bet­ter build­ings and ret­ro­fits can be achieved today. Com­pat­ible with this, Helmut Schöberl presen­ted the ret­ro­fit of a his­tor­ic­al build­ing in Vi­enna to the En­erPHit Stand­ard, in which build­ing cul­ture and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency were com­bined.


Achieve Bet­ter Build­ings!

Karsten Valentin of the ZEG (Cent­ral Build­ing As­so­ci­ation) held a present­a­tion on the first Pass­ive House hos­pit­al cur­rently be­ing built in Frank­furt. The pro­gramme also con­tained lec­tures on sum­mer com­fort in Pass­ive House build­ings, com­bin­ing sus­tain­ab­il­ity with re­new­able en­ergy sup­ply, and vent­il­a­tion tech­no­logy. Eng­lish lan­guage lec­tures in­cluded present­a­tions on cool­ing and de­hu­mid­i­fic­a­tion and on air­tight­ness. The work­shops on cur­tain wall façades, new fea­tures in the plan­ning tool PHPP, and on BIM and PHPP were fully booked.


Grow­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally 

The num­ber of Pass­ive House ex­perts is also grow­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally. Ser­gio Rossi of Fin­land and Os­valdo Carva­jal Rondan­el­li and Rodrigo Gonza­lez of Chile signed the con­tracts for mem­ber or­gan­isa­tions on be­half of Suo­men Passiv­i­taloy­h­distys of Fin­land and the Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te Found­a­tion of Chile re­spect­ively. Thus, nine years after it was first es­tab­lished, iPHA now has 23 mem­ber or­gan­isa­tions in 19 coun­tries. Many of the in­ter­na­tion­al vis­it­ors to the con­fer­en­ce also took part in the "Achieve Bet­ter Build­ings!" ex­cur­sions on Sunday. Be­sides vis­its to the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Bahn­stadt Pass­ive House dis­trict, the par­ti­cipants were giv­en guided tours of Heidel­berg Vil­lage and oth­er in­ter­est­ing Pass­ive House pro­jects in the vi­cin­ity.


Welcome to the new iPHA members!
The Specialists Exhibition with components for energy efficient construction

Second Con­fer­en­ce in China

The second con­fer­en­ce for this year will also be in­ter­na­tion­al: the 23rd In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce will take place in China this au­tumn; the first time out­side of Europe. The Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te and its part­ners are in­vit­ing every­one to Gaobeidi­an, loc­ated ap­prox­im­ately 80 kilo­metres south of Beijing,  from 9 to 11 Oc­to­ber 2019. A dis­trict built to the Pass­ive House Stand­ard is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in Gaobeidi­an and it is called ‘Bahn­stadt’ after the Heidel­berg ex­ample. In his clos­ing ad­dress Dr Wolfgang Feist ex­plained, that there are many oth­er large Pass­ive House pro­jects in China. Peter Li, of the Chinese part­ner Win­door City, spoke about the growth of Pass­ive House in­dustry in China and in­vited par­ti­cipants to at­tend the con­fer­en­ce. Some of the liv­ing spaces in the Bahn­stadt Gaobeidi­an can be viewed dur­ing the Con­fer­en­ce in Oc­to­ber. Li noted that there are already a guest house and a mu­seum built to the Pass­ive House Stand­ard.

More in­form­a­tion


We cordially invite you to the International Passive House Conference in China!

Thank you!

We would like to say thank you to all our part­ners, es­pe­cially the City of Heidel­berg for their valu­able sup­port, but also to all speak­ers for their great present­a­tions, to the ex­hib­it­ors for de­vel­op­ing in­nov­at­ive com­pon­ents and dis­play­ing them in Heidel­berg and to the at­tendees for com­ing and bring­ing such good vibes! We have had won­der­ful days in Heidel­berg, learned a lot of new things and have got so over­wehlm­ingly pos­it­ive feed­back! We hope to see you soon - in China oder Ber­lin!?

2020 in Ber­lin

At the end of the Heidel­berg Con­fer­en­ce, Dr Feist re­vealed next year’s city: The Pass­ive House In­sti­tu­te is in­vit­ing every­one to Ber­lin for the 24th In­ter­na­tion­al Pass­ive House Con­fer­en­ce in the au­tumn of 2020. This con­fer­en­ce will be held un­der the ae­gis of the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics. Ab­stracts may be sub­mit­ted un­til March 2020.


The orga team of the Passive House Conference in Heidelberg