The first passive house
residence hall in the US
The TerraHaus building on the campus of Unity College was the first college residence hall in the U.S. built to the Passive House standard, a comprehensive system featuring a very well insulated, virtually airtight building which is primarily heated by passive solar gain.
The Passive House standard represents the highest international standard for energy efficiency.
The building has huge two-story windows situated for maximum sunlight in the winter. The roof overhang is designed so that the solar gain is much less in the summer. The advantages of this design consider the change in the angle of sunlight from winter to summer, thereby enabling the building to provide nearly all the heat needed in the winter and the ability to stay cool in the summer.
TerraHaus house is a mix of single and double rooms and has a kitchen, dining room, living room, and mudroom. Students who lived in TerraHaus were expected to live an energy-efficient lifestyle and to be knowledgeable about the building’s energy performance. They were participants in sustainability education and public engagement and represent the College’s dedication to preparing the next generation of environmental leaders.