Cohousing and Passive House a perfect fit #Cohousing #Passivehouse

Cohousing and Passive House a perfect fit #Cohousing #Passivehouse

by Alex Maurer

The Concept of Cohousing has been around for a while, starting sometime in the 60’s with the development of a Danish community near Copenhagen, where it is now a well established housing option supported by the Danish government. The concept has spread around the globe with cohousing communities all over the world getting more and more popular as an alternative sustainable, supportive and environmentally friendly housing option.

What is Cohousing? (by Wikipedia)

“A cohousing community is a type of intentional community composed of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents – who also share activities which may include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and governance of the community. Common facilities may include a kitchen, dining room, laundry, child care facilities, offices, internet access, guest rooms, and recreational features.”

One important ingredient of cohousing since the beginning was and is sustainability – not only if it comes to the living concept itself but also in regards to the living space: Healthy living, Energy independence, High comfort and longevity are a few key elements forming an integral part of the community’s design vision.

No surprise that the Passive House building energy standard is gaining popularity amongst cohousing proponents with a few PH communities completed and more coming:

–       In Belfast, Maine (US) Go Logic has built a 1,500sqf Passive House serving as a prototype for the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, which will include 36 new homes clustered on three acres of the community’s 30-acre site.

Go Logic Passive House

Go Logic Passive House

–       The construction of the Lancaster Cohousing community located on the outskirts of the village of Hamton (UK) is well under way with completion slated for summer 2012.

Lancaster PH Community UK

Lancaster PH Community UK

–       This one almost made it – a Passive Cohousing project planned for Brooklyn, New York, had everything to be a success but unfortunately did not get off the ground. Still a great example to learn from:

Brooklyn PH Cohousing

Brooklyn PH Cohousing

–       In Floyd, Virginia (US), plans are underway to build Virginias first Passive House Cohousing community (Jubilee Floyd Cohousing) with PH Consultant Adam Cohen leading the design team:

–       The TREE Ecovillage at Ithaca in upstate New York with the first homes (non PH) completed back in 1996 is working on adding another 40 units built to Passive House standard:

Tree Ecovillage at Ithaca

Tree Ecovillage at Ithaca

–       In Canada, the planned Dragonfly Cohousing project in Calgary is making a splash with aiming to achieve the Passive House standard for its 38 unit cohousing development:

Marken Projects in collaboration with ReNuEnergy has provided input at the initial charettes for this project and we look forward working with the community on this exciting project.

Dragonfly Cohousing by Norr Architects

Dragonfly Cohousing Rendering

The list of PH cohousing projects featured here is not complete by all means and we will keep you posted on other Passive House cohousing projects we hear about.

If you are interested in learning more about cohousing in Canada, please visit the Canadian Cohousing network website ( and for the US the US Cohousing Association (

If you are a cohousing community looking for a Passive House Building Design Team and Consultants, please contact us for more information: