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

One of the principal tributaries of the upper Shiawassee River runs through the property around our home. As readers of Ben Goldfarb’s outstanding book Eager, we fully appreciate why beavers are attracted to this waterway and why these dynamic and tireless aquatic engineers are our best allies in restoring the local natural habitat. The upsides of beaver activity include a significant improvement in downstream water quality, the reduction of erosion and current fluctuations that storms and snow melt would otherwise cause, and increased habitat for native plants and animals.

The downside to beaver presence is that the level of the water their dams impound may put existing structures, roadways, and snake hibernacula at risk. In order to limit how high the water can reach we opted to install a pond leveler, sometimes called a “beaver deceiver.” The idea with these devices is to allow the full current to flow through the dam at the appropriate height. The intake and output should be quiet and smooth enough that the beavers are not compelled to further obstruct the stream. The capable team at Bostwick Excavating—Mike Sr, Mike Jr, Mitch, and Austin—recently constructed and installed such a device modeled after the Clemson pond leveler. With this plan, the water intake is distributed over many holes in a tube that is centered in a 30 inch diameter cage. The cited documentation states that this device handles several hundred gallons of water per minute and should require very little maintenance after installation.

Placing the pond leveler
Placing the pond leveler
Breaching the beaver dam
Breaching the beaver dam
Carrying the leveler
Carrying the leveler
Opening for leveler outflow
Opening for leveler outflow
Assembling the leveler at the dam site
Assembling the leveler at the dam site
Intake assembly
Intake assembly
Securing the leveler
Securing the leveler
Securing the outflow tube
Securing the outflow tube


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