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Das Haus Tour makes Chicago stop

The Das Haus tour was organized with the cooperation of several Chicago area organizations.
Audrey F. Henderson

If you passed by Daley Plaza in Chicago during the past week, you may have wondered about the square structure situated in front of the iconic Picasso sculpture. If you stepped into the structure, you realized that it was in fact a pavilion associated with the traveling Das Haus exhibit, which made a recent stop in Chicago on its way across North America. Previous stops for the pavilion and tour included Atlanta, Houston, Tempe (Arizona), San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Cambridge (Massachusetts), New York City, and Washington, D.C.

The tour, sponsored by the Ministry of Economics and Technology of the German federal government, began in October 2011. The pavilion and tour are designed to increase awareness of renewable energy sources and to provide a working example of passive house technology. The tour represents the second of two initiatives sponsored by the German ministry: the Renewable Energy Export Initiative and the Energy Efficiency Export Initiative. Along with these initiatives, the Das Haus website includes supplemental material about the pavilion, passive house technology and sustainable development.

The pavilion is constructed largely from two shipping containers joined together by a walk through exhibit, and includes several examples of sustainably oriented insulation materials. A highlight of the pavilion is a fully enclosed room constructed to passive house standards. The virtually air-tight room is powered by photovoltaic technology incorporated into the roof and side panels of the pavilion.

Events sponsored by various Chicagoland organizations, including the Center for Neighborhood Technology and AIA Chicago supplemented the pavilion during the week it was in residence at Daley Plaza. A half-day conference sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce featured presentations that provided more detailed information about sustainable development in general and passive house principles in particular.

The last day for the pavilion in Chicago was Sunday, September 30. The pavilion has since been disassembled and is on its way to its final North American stop in Denver, Colorado. The pavilion will open in Denver on October 14 and will remain open until October 23, when the Das Haus tour completes its North American journey.

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