At the end of last year, a startup technology firm asked me to join them and work with some folks I’d worked with back in the 90s, go-go dot.com days.
Taking the opportunity would mean leaving PHIUS. And leaving a terrific community of whip-smart people doing fantastic work. In the end, I closed my eyes and chose to go off the high-dive—January 8 was my last day at PHIUS.
My last weeks at PHIUS were spent on tying up loose ends, and though I managed to say it to some folks, I wasn’t able to say it to everyone. So, for the record:
As outlined in a Klingenblog post a few years ago, I was working as a journalist when I met Katrin Klingenberg in Urbana, Ill., in 2002. I thought I smelled a good story. I was dead right.
What you all—and PHIUS—have accomplished since then is amazing. The first North American Passive House Conference I attended—then as a board member—was in Portland, Ore., in 2010. The excitement and commitment was palpable. I was hooked.
Back then there were more proposed projects than built ones. Multifamily and commercial projects were a twinkle in the eye.
So, this past September, at the 10th Annual North American Passive House Conference in Chicago, it was remarkable—and gratifying—to take stock of the progress that’s been made.
It’s been a privilege to be a part of it.
Of course, like all good things, it hasn’t always come easily.
There has been healthy skepticism, and also cynical skepticism. And the garden-variety stubborn resistance to change. Within the community of passionate believers—as is usually the case—there has been some strife.
It has at times been vitriolic, and unfortunate—but to my way of thinking, the strife ultimately served the community’s purposes. With the dust settled and emotions quieted, we are all left with what I consider to be a very healthy environment of competition and innovation. At the same time, the myriad of organizations seeking the same outcome have become more and more willing and able to cooperate. It’s not passive house versus anymore, it’s passive house and.
The result: Our once-niche movement is growing up to be a real and vibrant industry.
I’m proud to have played a part, and proud of the role PHIUS has played. And I thank Katrin Klingenberg and Mike Kernagis, former colleagues and forever dear friends, for giving me the opportunity.
And none of this would have been achieved without all of you forward-thinking architects, builders, scientists, engineers, manufacturers, early adopters, energy nerds, policy makers, educators, grant makers, and generally all-around good people.
To all of you who have stuck with passive building, thank you, it’s been an honor and a pleasure.
And keep on building.