SwiPHT Houses

Western’s Passive House Instructional Facility

SwiPHt Exterior 1

The SwiPHt Homes Neighborhood Project is one of few in Wisconsin, but the first that incorporates an educational component. It will serve as a model development for the entire Upper Midwest.

By working with experts in the sustainable design movement and in collaboration with faculty and students, as well as community partners, the SwiPHt Homes Project will shine as a model of community and education integration at its finest!

A Passive House is Unique!

A Passive House utilizes a design and construction model that focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency. Utilizing the sun’s energy, proper siting of the property, energy efficient building materials and techniques, and a quality ventilation system, homeowners can realize a 90 percent cost savings in their utilities. By using minimal renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaic or residential wind, passive homes can be easily converted to zero-energy homes.

While the energy cost savings are impressive, a passive house is more than an affordable, low-energy building. It is also comfortable and ecological.

With Western’s commitment to sustainability, its position as an educational leader in the community, its history of collaborative homebuilding, and its Vision 2020 plan, it made sense to explore a sustainable, integrated, and innovative solution for the neighborhood.

A Model of Partnership and Innovation

Western faculty and students are working in partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare, Hillview Urban Agriculture Center (HUAC), and the La Crosse Community Foundation to transform a residential pocket in La Crosse’s 24th Street Neighborhood.

SwiPHt Interior

The 100-year-old Hillview Greenhouse used to sit on the property. The greenhouse was deconstructed and removed from its previous location at 751 24th St. North. All reusable building materials were up-cycled and donated or sold to interested parties. In its place will be three professionally-designed and -constructed small footprint, energy efficient, Passive House certified homes. The project is being led by Western’s new Center for Building Innovation and their certified Passive House instructor and consultant, as well as the Minneapolis-based Passive House and high performance architectural firm, Intep.

The first Passive House was completed in Fall 2014 and will be used as an instructional facility for Building Systems Technology, HVAC, Landscape Horticulture and Architectural Technology Students.

Photo Gallery