Passive House Tours

Organized home tours are great way to get ideas, meet interesting people and learn about the house.  Architecture and landscaping gives a certain “feel” to the house.  Finding out about material choices give an insight to the owner’s values.  Learning about various systems used, like solar thermal, photovoltaic, energy management, rainwater harvesting and gray water systems has been interesting and often inspiring.  Years ago, when we’ve attended “Solar Homes Tour,” or “Green Homes Tour,” or “Open Architecture Tour,” we would dream about doing a green house project of our own someday.  After visiting a home we would note, “How we felt,” at the house and discuss what we liked and disliked about the house.  These tours were planting seeds in our mind.  After going to so many of these we found that our tastes and preferences were similar so when we decided to do our Midorihaus Project we simply germinated the seeds that were planted through the tours.

This year we’ve been to several “Passive House Tours” in the Bay Area.  Unlike the one day organized tours of several houses where people come and go all throughout the day, these Passive House Tours are compact and provide the visitors with an in depth view of the project.  At each of these sites there is a formal presentation with a team of architect, builder, passive house consultant and sometimes the owner that presented the highlights of the project.  They’re all quite passionate about building energy efficient homes and are generous with their time.  We’ve learned so much from talking to different people at these tours!

This is a brief list of passive house tours we’ve been to this year (2011).

March 27 – Cottle Zero Energy Home in San Jose, designed and built by One Sky Homes.

May 13 – Green Gulch Farm at San Francisco Zen Center at Muir Beach.

June 1 – Menlo Passive Project in Menlo Park by Clarum Homes.

Coming up….
Green Home Project in Palo Alto that is going live on June 4.  This site will host the next monthly meeting for Passive House California on June 26.

Of course, sometime in 2012, we will host a tour of our Midorihaus Project in Santa Cruz.

About the Author

Chie Kawahara

Chie is one of the co-creator of Midori Haus. When she is not sharing her stories of transforming an old house and giving tours, she enjoys trail running and hiking.