In Case You Missed the Ice Box Challenge Last Week

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Last week, a crowd gathered in Occidental Square to gawk at two chunks of ice.

The ice had been melting for 20 days, but one block had melted much faster than the other. The event attracted a crowd because the ice blocks were part of an exhibit dubbed the Ice Box Challenge*. There were two boxes, one constructed to minimum levels of insulation per energy code, and one constructed to a much higher level of insulation: the Passive House standard. Each box started out with a 1200-pound block of ice. Windows in each box allowed passersby to peek in and see how quickly each block was melting over the course of 20 days.

On September 28, the boxes were removed and the ice blocks revealed. Measurements indicated that far more ice remained in the Passive House box— four times as much as the energy code box. The exhibition shows how well Passive House buildings perform: up to 90% better than conventional buildings. Passive House is one of the most rigorous standards for energy efficiency, and it’s an achievable solution to the enormous amount of energy that buildings use.

Grouparchitect supports high-performance building practices and has Certified Passive House Consultants on staff so that these projects can become a reality. For more information on the Ice Box Challenge, please visit:

*Exhibit coordinated by NK Architects and Passive House Northwest, with sponsorship and support from the City of Vancouver, Passive House Canada, and the local Passive House industry.