September 9-28, 2017
Seattle Design Festival 2017
Occidental Square, Seattle

The Seattle #IceBoxChallenge was a public science experiment to uncover the benefits of Passive House design and construction.

About the Ice Box Challenge

The Seattle #IceBoxChallenge was an experiment to demonstrate how a building can be super energy efficient AND comfortable. Two Ice Boxes were each filled with 1,200 pounds of ice and left outside for 20 days. They were then opened and the ice melt in each box measured. The Result: the ice left unmelted in the Passive House box was four times larger than that left in the code box, demonstrating that better building design can help us reduce our carbon pollution without changing our behavior. Energy-efficient homes and buildings are comfortable, quiet and healthy.

The “Ice Reveal” took place at
12:15pm, Thurs, Sept 28. 
Seattle Design Festival ’17

Why Passive House Buildings?

Quite simply, it’s how we build & feel better.

Passive House buildings are reliable, affordable, comfortable buildings that use energy efficiently, so you’re heating or cooling only your building and not the outdoors. They stay comfortable and quiet throughout the year, including through summer heatwaves, winter storms and power outages. The buildings use up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than other buildings do, while maintaining good indoor ventilation and air quality. They are easy to maintain. They are also affordable to build, own, live in and work in.

Passive House Northwest promotes highly energy efficient construction through implementation of the Passive House concept. Passive House (aka Passivhaus) is the world’s leading standard for energy efficient construction. It combines building enclosure efficiency and passive solar strategies in a system for designing and building cost effective, comfortable, energy efficient buildings.

About the Design

These boxes were given to Seattle by the City of Vancouver and Passive House Canada after the Ice Box Challenge there.

Vancouver’s buildings all try to capture the view. Like Seattle, Vancouver is surrounded by the Salish Sea and Pacific Coast Ranges. This design seeks to capture one such view, and present it in abstract form. The “Lions”or “Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn”, which translates as “Twin Sisters” are unique to Vancouver and easily recognizable from much of Greater Vancouver. This easily recognisable Vancouver landmark, with its snow, that almost year-round tops these peaks, informed these Ice Boxes.

The Seattle Ice Box Challenge was made possible by the in-kind support and Ice Box donation of City of Vancouver and Passive House Canada. The Seattle Challenge is provided by Passive House Northwest, with presenting sponsorship and volunteer support from NK Architects, and sponsorship support from the local Passive House industry. 

Designers & Builders: Stark Architecture, E3 Eco Group, Slow & Steady Design, Footprint Sustainable Housing
Collaborating Partners: Passive House Northwest, Passive House Canada, City of Vancouver
Presenting Sponsor: NK Architects
Collaborating Sponsor: Cascade Built
Supporting Sponsors: 475 High Performance Building Supply, Small Planet Supply, Birdsmouth Construction, Evergreen Certified, Cascadia Windows and Doors, EuroLine Windows, SIGA Cover, BCIT High Performance Building Lab