The success of our “Mondays with Mike” feature has a lot of you blog readers wondering: what does my husband Mike Knezovich do for a living? An online article in the Chicago Tribune helps explain. (The print piece is scheduled for Sunday.)
The Tribune story profiles architect Katrin Klingenberg, co-founder of a non-profit called Passive House Institute U.S. That’s where Mike works, but we usually refer to it as PHIUS.
I’ve written here before about how Mike met Katrin, and now this excellent short piece in the Tribune explains what Passive House is:
“Passive house” is a concept based on a set of design principles used to create buildings that use minimal heating/cooling, employing elements such as thick insulation, energy-recovery ventilation, high-performance windows and a steady supply of fresh air.
Born in Germany, Katrin had seen Europeans applying passive principles to buildings for decades. “But their principles only applied to the European temperate climate,” she told the Tribune reporter, explaining how she’d applied it to America’s extreme temperatures.
PHIUS started in 2007 and has already trained 2,000 architects, engineers, builders and energy raters. It’s certified 129 buildings, with many more in the works.
Now, PHIUS works with policymakers to get passive-house principles into local building codes. They’re working with the U.S. Department of Energy on the next generation of climate-specific passive-building standards, too — those standards will be much more energy-efficient than the current International Energy Conservation Code. Katrin told the reporter that we absolutely must solve the climate crisis. “Energy-efficient buildings do make a difference,” she said.
As Director of Communications, Mike
helps get the word out via the Web, Social Media, trade and general interest press, and the organization’s annual conference. This article — which includes what Mike tells me is a terrific photo of Katrin — will help those efforts. Give the article a read yourself, and don’t miss the extra Q&A with Katrin at the end.