It’s been 25 years since Dr. Wolfgang Feist built the first Passive House building in Darmstadt, Germany. Katrin Krämer, press officer for the Passive House Institute, sat down with him to find out how it all began.
The kids were excited – construction meant action! The grandparents were sceptical but supportive. Some experts had, however, published papers stating that Passive House could never work. Wolfgang Feist was undeterred: ‘It was immediately clear that you could make a home more energy efficient’. He also knew that he didn’t want to be considered ‘exotic’ in the long-term: ‘exotics have passing value’.
The Passive House pioneer has achieved both goals. You were actually a Passive House pioneer 25 years ago, in the early nineties you built the world's first Passive House in Darmstadt. Do you still remember the fresh spirit of optimism prevailing at the time?
Of course I do! Those were turbulent times. And, as is generally the case, people were concerned with things other than the future of the planet. It was the time of the collapse of the so-called "real socialist" dictatorships, when energy policy was almost synonymous with nuclear energy policy (...)