The first passive house residence hall in the US

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Student housing at Unity includes TerraHaus, the first passive solar residence hall in the nation. Photo by Mark Tardif.
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The TerraHaus building on the campus of Unity College is the first college residence hall in the U.S. built to the Passive House standard, a comprehensive system featuring a very well insulated, virtually airtight building which is primarily heated by passive solar gain.

The Passive House standard represents the highest international standard for energy efficiency.

The building has huge two-story windows situated for maximum sunlight in the winter. The roof overhang is designed so that the solar gain is much less in the summer. The advantages of this design consider the change in the angle of sunlight from winter to summer, thereby enabling the building to provide nearly all of the heat needed in the winter and the ability to stay cool in the summer. 

TerraHaus houses ten students in a mix of single and double rooms and has a kitchen, dining room, living room, and mudroom. Students who live in TerraHaus are expected to live an energy-efficient lifestyle and to be knowledgeable about the building’s energy performance.They are participants in sustainability education and public engagement, and represent the College’s dedication to preparing the next generation of environmental leaders.

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