Passive House Building Energy Standard to be High Level Option Within State Reach Code

Oregon Sets Efficiency Precedent         

SALEM, Ore.—Wednesday (3/16), the Oregon Reach Code Committee unanimously adopted the Passive House Building Energy Standard as an option within the new Reach Code. The Committee, initiated by S.B. 79, is developing an optional, aspirational building code with a two-fold purpose: to incentivize high performance buildings, and to allow jurisdictions & builders to field test state-of-the-art construction methods

The Passive House Building Energy Standard, which cuts energy use by 70-90%, is the world’s most rigorous standard for energy efficiency. Although still relatively new to the U.S., it has been widely practiced and is being phased in as minimum building code in Europe.

“While still only an option within an option, we can all be proud that Oregon has taken this historic step to continue as a leader for the country by including the Passive House Building Energy Standard in the new Oregon Reach Code,” stated Sam Hagerman, President of Portland contractor Hammer and Hand and the national Passive House Alliance. “We applaud the Reach Code Committee for taking this important action towards addressing the climate challenge we face.”

“The Passive House Standard is not only cost effective related to standard construction, these buildings also have superior comfort, health, performance, and durability,” said Stephen Aiguier, President of Portland Design-Build Firm, Green Hammer. “This is a great indication that Oregon is starting to take the steps needed to solve climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign energy.”

The measure garnered strong support, having been endorsed by 14 nonprofit organizations, many individuals, and 29 businesses including Oregon CUB, Oregon Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Rocky Mountain Institute, and VOIS Business Alliance. Jana Gastellum of Oregon Environmental Council testified in support of the adoption, and the Chair of the Oregon Global Warming Commission sent a letter of support aligning the Passive House Standard with their October 2010 Roadmap to 2020 report calling for greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80%.

The Reach Committee voted the Passive House Building Energy Standard into a high level of the commercial building portion of the Reach Code (Section 301.1.1) and indicated they will likely do the same for the residential portion when they reach that section in an upcoming session.
For interviews, contact:
Sam Hagerman, Hammer and Hand, m: 503-936-5047, o: 503-232-2447,

Endorsers of Let Oregon Lead Campaign

Nonprofit organizations:

  • Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon
  • Climate Solutions
  • NW Ecobuilding Guild
  • NW Ecobuilding Guild Portland Chapter
  • NW Energy Coalition
  • Oregon Environmental Council
  • Passive House Alliance
  • Passive House Institute US
  • Passive House Northwest
  • Passive House Oregon
  • Proud Ground
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • VOIS Business Alliance


  • A Kitchen That Works
  • Alison Kwok Architect
  • Cityhouse Builders
  • Debar Architecture
  • DMS Architects
  • Drumheller Design Studios
  • Eagle Creek
  • Ecobuilding Collaborative of Oregon
  • Natural Building
  • Eco Smart Building PC
  • Edmiston Design/Build
  • Ethan Beck Homes
  • Green Hammer
  • Green PDX
  • Hammer and Hand
  • JB Hammer Designs
  • Living Room Realtors
  • Lunabridge
  • Meadows Group Realtors
  • Nathan Good Architects
  • PDX Living
  • Root Design Build
  • Sarah Davis Design Services
  • Small Planet Workshop
  • Studio-E Architecture
  • Sustainable Solutions Unlimited
  • Swift Architecture
  • Ted Nickell Design
  • Tom Bender Architect
  • Wright On Sustainability
  • Year Round Comfort

Individual endorsers:

  • Heidi Byrne
  • Alex Boetzel
  • Robin Cash
  • Tad Everhart
  • Glen Haupt
  • Kent Hegsted
  • Mitzi Kugler
  • Robert Kugler
  • Dylan Lamar
  • Jeff Law
  • Devin Moeller
  • Andrew Morphis
  • Richard Nelson
  • Jeremy Rosenbloom
  • Shane Scribner
  • Win Swafford
  • Jeffrey Tufenkian
  • Jeffrey Ward
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