Passive Projects Design Competition

2020 Passive Projects Design Competition: Deadline Extended to October 19

We invite you to submit your best passive building projects for the 6th Annual PHIUS Passive Projects tiera lindaCompetition! This year it’s all virtual–the awards ceremony will be an online celebration of winners and entrants.

This juried competition recognizes fully certified passive building projects of all types and climate zones. This is your chance to showcase your work and celebrate the great strides being made in the field of passive building!

Submissions are due by Monday, October 19, 2020 at 11:59pm ET.

Projects must be listed as fully certified in the PHIUS+ Certified Projects database.* Projects can be submitted in one or more of the five qualifying categories:

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Affordable
  • Commercial / Institutional
  • Source Zero

Additionally, two projects from the above winners will be awarded:building

  • Best Overall Project of this year’s competition
  • Best Project by a Young Professional (35 or under)

The winning and finalist entries will be announced and celebrated 5:00-7:00pm ET on Friday, October 30, 2020 during the online Design Competition Awards Ceremony. Winners will be featured on the PHIUS web site, e-newsletters, and Green Building and Design Magazine.

See the 2019 Passive Projects Winners


Projects must be listed as fully certified in the PHIUS+ Certified Projects database.* Entries will be scored by Jurors on a scale of 1 – 5 based upon:

  • Performance (e.g., meets PHIUS+ standard, better than standard, crushes the standard)
  • Difficulty level (climate/site/location/requirements challenges)
  • Cost-effectiveness, Design (e.g., smart use of space)
  • Craftsmanship, and Health (e.g., use of non-toxic materials)

To Enter:

  1. Review the entry instructions and information requirements here
  2. Assemble the information
  3. Complete the online entry form

Required information includes:

  • A short (250 word) summary of the project
  • Heating/Cooling demand figures (target and actual)
  • R values for walls, roof, and floors
  • EUI calculations
  • Photos of exterior, interior, and other points of interest
  • Floor plan and wall assembly diagrams
  • One slide, maximum three photos, that shows your project at its best

Questions? Email

*Projects listed as fully certified in other passive building databases such as the PHI / IPHA database or Belgium passiefhuis-platforme are also eligible.

Note: PHIUS employees and board members may not enter their own projects into the competition; however, other project team members/firms are eligible to enter a project. Projects with a PHIUS board member as CPHC are eligible to apply.

PHIUS/PHAUS will assemble a panel of five jurors, each of whom meets two of the following three criteria:

  1. CPHC®, PHIUS Certified Builder, PHIUS+ Rater or PHIUS+Verifier in good standing
  2. Completion of at least one certified project
  3. Licensed professional

This year’s jurors are:


Arathi Gowda

AIA, CPHC, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Director at SOM

Arathi Gowda is the team leader for SOM Chicago’s Performative Design Group, charged with researching new technologies and recommending integrated environmental design solutions that are substantiated with computer simulation for SOM project teams worldwide. As an educator Arathi is committed to training the next generation of practitioners engaging with two Universities, first as the current elected Dean of Sustainable Initiatives at Foundation University and a visiting instructor for their Architecture program, the first Design Build program in the Philippines.

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She is also a Part Time Professor at Roosevelt University, where she currently teaches MBRE students about sustainable urbanism. Trained as an architect, with Architecture and Planning Registrations, she champions the environment at a multiplicity of scales, from Master Planning to Architecture and Interior Architecture. 


Walter Grondzik

Walter Grondzik is a Professor of Architecture at Ball State University, an architectural engineer, and a licensed professional engineer. His academic and professional interests include high-performance building design and all areas of building environmental control systems and their effects on buildings and occupants. Grondzik is author of Principles of Building Commissioning and co-author of Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings (10th, 11th and 12th editions) and The Green Studio Handbook (1st, 2nd and 3rd editions).

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He is an ASHRAE Fellow, a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), and recipient of the ASES Passive Pioneer Award. Grondzik is past-president of the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE), past-president of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC), and is currently President of the Board of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS).


Graham Irwin

Essential Habitat Architecture

Graham Irwin, AIA, CPHC, is the principal of Essential Habitat Architecture, a Northern California practice focused on healthy, high performance, sustainable buildings built to Passive Building standards.

He has a degree in physics, with additional studies in engineering and architecture, and an extensive background in software development. Since 2008, his firm has worked on numerous single-family, multi-family and commercial Passive House projects throughout California and the US, including the first certified Passive House in California, the first certified Passive House retrofit in the US, and the first certified multi-family Passive House in the US.

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He is a licensed architect and licensed general contractor in the state of California. Graham is a founding partner of CaliPASSIV, a “pocket production” Passive Building developer.

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Katrin Klingenberg

PHIUS Executive Director & Co-Founder

Katrin is the executive director of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), Chicago, Illinois, USA. PHIUS is an organization committed to making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard. After studying at the Technische Universitaet in Berlin, Germany and graduating from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana with a master’s degree in architecture in 1996, Katrin began her career in architecture with Murphy/Jahn in Chicago, Illinois.

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She then worked for the architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz in Chicago. In 2002, she started her own firm and became a registered architect in Germany. In 2007, Katrin co-founded the Passive House Institute US to work on education. She is the executive and the lead instructor for the PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training. She also directs the technical and research programs at PHIUS which has trained over 2,000 architects, engineers, energy consultants, energy raters and builders in passive building standards. PHIUS has become the leading passive building research and information provider in North America.

Katrin has written and co-authored magazine articles and book contributions. She has also presented internationally on the topic of passive building science and won the Woman in Sustainability Leadership Award in 2015.


Shannen Martin


Shannen L. Martin, CPHC, LEED AP ID+C is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University’s Architecture and Construction Science programs. Her time at PVAMU exposed her to sustainability and Public Interest Design, setting her academic and professional career trajectory. During school, she enrolled in one of the first university programs to implement Passive House training into curriculum and earned her Certified Passive House Consultant credentials in her junior year.

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A member of multiple student competitions teams focusing on regenerative design, Shannen most notably captained the grand award-winning team in the 2018 Race to Zero competition with the passive house Fly Flat project. This project aimed at addressing the social, economic, and environmental issues of a low-income community in Houston, TX. The Fly Flat has since been featured at the Annual North American Passive House Conference, ILFI Living Future unConference, AIA Houston Complete the Community, and is a AIA COTE Top Ten for Students winner. She is currently a Sustainable Design Specialist at HOK.


Tessa Smith 

Principal, AIA, CPHC, LEED APr, Dept. of Architecture and Interior Design, Miami University of Ohio

Tessa Smith is a Principal and architect at Artisans Group, a Pacific Northwest sustainable architecture and design firm. Three time award winner of PHIUS’s Best Project By A Young Professional and winner of the 2017 Best Single Family Project, her work is built throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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A graduate of The Evergreen State College, Tessa is an active advocate for resilience in communities around the Pacific Northwest through building science and creative design that makes sustainability not just morally preferable, but aesthetically desirable as well.

Tessa is an accomplished speaker and has presented at numerous Passive House conferences around the country, at regional sustainability conferences, the South Puget Sound Community College, The Evergreen State College, the University of Oregon School of Architecture and at Arizona State University.

Her award winning home designs have been featured in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Dwell, Design Boom, and several books about Passive House and sustainable architecture. In addition, she often teaches workshops on Passive
House building and transitioned The Artisans Group from solely residential architecture to also provide commercial design that is quickly garnering accolades and awards as well as rejuvenating a downtown core.