jung haus

michigan’s first certified passive house

Here we share some observations about and snapshots of the Passive House we had built in Oakland County, Michigan. All photographs were taken by us unless otherwise noted.

—Maura and Kurt Jung

When we decided we wanted to move out to our property to live in a more rural area, we began considering what type of home to build. We knew we wanted an energy-efficient home constructed with environmentally sustainable materials. We read about homes that were solar powered with photovoltaic panels, LEED certified, net-zero, off-the-grid and passively heated with sunlight. We set out to educate ourselves about these options.

During the winter holiday of 2010, we stayed at LogHaven, an off-the-grid B&B near West Branch, Michigan. The beautiful log home here is augmented with a wind turbine, solar panels and large capacity batteries for energy storage. The proprietors explained how they came to live off-the-grid and the decisions they made in the process. They recommended that we subscribe to Home Power Magazine, an indispensable resource for projects of this type. It was in a letter to the editor of this magazine that we first became acquainted with Christina Snyder, a Michigan-based architect with a strong commitment to the Passive House movement. Days after we spoke with her on the phone, she presented a very compelling and informative session at a Reskilling Institute event near Ann Arbor. The enthusiasm we developed during that presentation has not diminished. Christina introduced us to Michael Klinger, a certified Passive House builder. Michael in turn put us in touch with Matthew O’Malia, Principal of G • O Logic, a Maine-based firm that designs and builds cold climate Passive Houses.

We like features of all green building techniques, but it is the integrated approach used in the Passive House standard that most appeals to each of our science backgrounds. The standard requires energy analysis at the planning stage and tests throughout construction to assure compliant performance. We gravitated to the concept of the Passive House for reasons of low energy input, comfortable living and sustainable building practices. Passive Houses maintain a relatively constant temperature and humidity and desirable turnover of fresh air. We also like how the standard requires one to examine sustainable lifestyles in addition to the building process.


April 2012

Breaking ground

Preparing the footings

Completing the footing forms

The Passive House standard


Footings poured

Crawlspace walls

Concrete poured

Additional insulation

Drain tile wrapped

May 2012

Backfilling and compaction

Crawlspace backfilled

Support posts installed

Framing delivered and barrier installed

Installing TJI joists

Installing the subflooring

Installing the first floor walls

Preparing for the second floor

Straight, Plumb, Level, Square and now Airtight

Second floor taking shape

Attic joists

Roof trusses

Roof trusses and attic deck

Roof deck and overhangs

Fascia boards

June 2012

Crawl space insulation and roof

Made in Michigan

Special delivery

Crawl space preparation

First floor preparation, TJI base

Sealing air barrier

Soffits and tape seams

First floor concrete and first envelope trusses

Crawlspace concrete

Excavating, trusses and crawlspace stairway

Water line excavation

Stairway, window framing

Fiberboard installation

Fiberboard installation and wrap

July 2012

Framing crawlspace walls

Envelope, plumbing

Beginning of wraparound porch


Porch and ceiling

Wrap-around porch

August 2012

Wrap-around porch

Window installation

Preliminary blower door test


September 2012

Wiring, insulation, porch roof


Siding progress

Well drilled

Mechanical system installation

October 2012

Insulation of inside wall

Drywall and siding


Drywall and attic insulation

Drywall, mechanical system

Wood floors and exterior painting

Doors and cabinetry delivered

November 2012

Exterior concrete, kitchen cabinets

Upstair floors, porch siding

Painting, tiling, flooring

WKAR interview, floor finishing

Exterior concrete, crawlspace walls and floor

Crawlspace floor

Compressors, exterior lights, tile

Entrances: drive and house

December 2012

Trim work

Front entrance

Floors and windows

Exemplary results in blower door test

Walkway, bathroom vanity top

Counter tops

Kitchen back splash tiling

January 2013

Upstairs painting

Upstairs painting and trim

Downstairs door finishing

Upstairs floor finishing, water conditioner

Downstairs painting

Kitchen shelf, painting

Cabinetry trim, painting

February 2013

Cabinetry hardware

Final interior painting

First Holly Passive House Conference

March 2013

Certificate of Occupancy


December 2013

Settled in

January 2014

Winter storm

February 2014



April 2014

Habitat restoration

May 2014


August 2015


February 2017

Life in a Passive House

December 2017

Are passive homes the future?

May 2019

Meanwhile, at the beaver dam

July 2020


March 2023

Ten years

Links of interest

G • O Logic

Energy Wise Homes

J F Shewchuck Construction

Bostwick Excavating

Hanneman and Fineis Concrete Construction

Northern Michigan Hardwoods

RTM Heating & Cooling

Bach Electric

GoldStar Hardwood

Randy Lalone Well Drilling

Nu•Wool Premium Cellulose Insulation

Weaver Tile

Passive House Academy

Pro Trees Unlimited

MPC Cashway Lumber

Lumbermen’s Inc

Spartan Painting

Reynolds Water Conditioning, Co.


Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating

Young Supply


Forbes article

Fine Homebuilding

Proud Green Home article

WKAR article

Green Building Advisor article

Maura Jung and Matt O'Malia discuss house

Various images

Copyright © 2012–2023 • Maura and Kurt Jung

Questions? Comments? Contact us at info@jung.haus