News 2010

First edition of the Peak Newsletter available

First edition of the Peak Newsletter

Just in time for the 5th Passive House Conference in Portland, Oregon, Peak-Building-Products is introducing the first edition of its newsletter. At the Conference on 5 and 6 November 2010, the specialist of high-performance building products will present its product range.
In the past, Peak Building Products already showed its skills and expertise in various high-end energy projects. A flagship project to be mentioned in this context is the Biohaus in Minnesota. In 2005, high-end products, including Vacupor, have been implemented in the project.

Passivhaus standard in Minnesota – a cutting edge construction project in the US

Stephan Tanner - Peak Building Products“The BioHaus proves that the German Passive House Standard works very well right here in Northern Minnesota – a true success story!” says Stephan Tanner, head of Peak Building Products. The BioHaus at Waldsee, is a cutting edge sustainability project in the USA. In tune with the philosophy of the language village, learning by immersion, this project is based upon the German Passivhaus standard and the concept of the building is that its design will facilitate learning in all its details of sustainable construction.

Even compared to current German buildings, the BioHaus is a leading edge example of high performance building design as a result of the severe weather conditions in the Bemidji area. The Bemidji area typically has 5,700 heating degree days in the winter – compared to the 3,500 heating degree days typical for Germany. For this reason, the Bemidji area notably serves automobile manufacturers from around the world as a cold weather location for testing automotive performance in severe winter conditions, including some German companies. Applying the Passivhaus standards in this project is a first for such serve cold climate conditions and as designed the BioHaus will be about 85% below the current Minnesota energy code (a comparatively stringent energy code within the US).

The Building – “Klein aber fein”

BioHaus Minnesota

For this rather small building of 400m2, Concordia Language Villages proposes to meet the need for residential space together with the opportunity to support an environmental program by constructing a unique environmental learning center that will be a model of Germany’s best environmental planning and “green” or sustainable environmental building concepts. It will house 28 people and provide space for environmental activities for the entire Waldsee community for two weeks at a time, indirectly also impacting the over 1500 youth between the ages of 7-18 attending Waldsee every year.
The focus of their learning will be on everything environmental, reflecting authentic German culture. The architectural design concept for the BioHaus is a compact, well functioning and beautiful structure. Built on an east facing slope, the cubical building is made of two elements. The first element establishes the base and back of the building containing the more personal spaces in a weightier form. The second element is lighter, and faces south for solar access containing the common, shared spaces. These two elements are reflected in the exterior wall technologies employed in the construction. The walls of the base element are constructed of traditional insulating materials and are juxtaposed to a wall system constructed with the latest thermal protection technology such as vacuum insulation.

The BioHaus will serve Concordia College in attaining educational and building demonstration goals. The design reveals new technologies through transparent siding material. As an environmental living center, the BioHaus showcases cutting edge approaches to energy conservation and innovations in sustainable building design including a Passivhaus standard building envelope, extensive green roof, low impact and healthy building materials, simple building technology, use of alternative energy resources and low energy use appliances and equipment to name a few. The BioHaus’s educational value is of primary importance. As such, the design will incorporate measuring components for building performance in an interactive manner revealing and comparing BioHaus results with German and US based benchmarks.

Project funding and manufacturer participation

The BioHaus is funded in part by a grant from the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), with a design planning grant from the Kresge Foundation in Detroit, Michigan. DBU intends that the BioHaus be used as a means for German manufacturers to display technological and environmental know-how including leading sustainable construction edge products and technologies. The BioHaus provides German manufactures of building products an outstanding opportunity to showcase sustainable products and technological know-how.

Further informationen on BioHaus and Peak Building Products, please click to

Infos about the 5. Passive House Conference in Portland, Oregon you can find under