Holst Architecture

Holst Architecture

Portland, OR


The Karuna House Achieves a Green Building First: Inaugural MINERGIE® Pre-certification in U.S. for the Oregon Home, Designed by Holst Architecture and Built by Hammer And Hand

By holstarc
Oct 16, '12 3:24 PM EST

July 26, 2012 – Portland firm Holst Architecture and builder Hammer And Hand announces that the Karuna House in Newberg, Oregon, has earned the first MINERGIE® pre-certification in the United States, with official designation as “US-001-P-ECO.”  The pre-certification by the Swiss green building quality label means that the project is on track to be the first U.S. home to achieve the stringent energy performance and sustainability requirements of MINERGIE®-P-ECO.

“It’s an honor to be working on the first pre-certified MINERGIE® project in the country,” said Jeff Stuhr, principal at Holst Architecture.  “We’re so pleased to reach this milestone.  The requirements of MINERGIE®-P-ECO demand a thorough, holistic approach to green building.”
Launched in 1998, the MINERGIE® suite of standards is widely accepted throughout Europe as an effective tool for cutting energy usage and subsequent costs in residential and commercial buildings. MINERGIE® does not stipulate the use of any specific material or technology, but instead requires a super insulated building envelope to prevent heat loss during the winter, coupled with a high-performance ventilation system that maintains an ambient temperature during warmer months. 
Compared to a conventional structure, a MINERGIE®-P-ECO-certified building can cut energy costs by up to 60 percent. The “P” of MINERGIE®-P-ECO adds requirements for very high-building energy performance.  The “ECO” denotes that a project has met the stringent ecology and healthy building requirements of ECO-Bau, a sustainability organization partnering with MINERGIE® on the “ECO” label.

“We’re proud to support the MINERGIE®-P-ECO certification effort of the Karuna project,” said Stephan Tanner, Principal of Intep and MINERGIE® consultant for the project. “I found the challenge of bringing a building performance standard from one building culture to another very engaging. What seems easily understood at the place of origin can become 'non applicable', an 'interesting new approach' or even 'something we should do always' and as such has positive learning components for both sides.”

Designed by Holst Architecture and constructed by Hammer And Hand, the Karuna House is an ambitious green building project that aims to meet a combination of the world's most demanding green building certifications. In addition to MINERGIE®-P-ECO certification, the Karuna House is expected to achieve Passive House PHIUS+, and LEED for Homes Platinum.
The Karuna House's client, a leading proponent of smart climate policy and sound land use, is pursuing the project as a case study to shed light on the ways that the leading green building certifications and standards complement and/or conflict with one another.
"It's a great challenge," says Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer And Hand. "When you line up the various aims of the standards you're left with a pretty narrow path to navigate through in design and construction.  It's been an exciting journey, and one with significant environmental rewards and lessons."

Details about the Karuna House can be found online at

About Holst Architecture
For two decades, Holst Architecture has crafted innovative solutions in building design that blend principles of sustainability and state-of-the-art technology while expressing the highest social and aesthetic ideals. Founded by Jeffrey Stuhr and John T. Holmes, the Portland, Oregon-based firm has a large portfolio of public, commercial, and residential projects located throughout the U.S. and in Canada.
Contact:  Allison Milionis
(503) 233-9856
[email protected]

About Hammer And Hand
Hammer And Hand is dedicated to stewardship of the built environment through craft and science, everything from traditional remodels to home energy retrofits to cutting-edge high performance green buildings. With offices in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington the firm has partnered with the Northwest’s top architects and designers since 1995 to build and remodel the region’s residential and commercial buildings.
(503) 232-2447