Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jennifer deHart
Submission Date Oct. 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Unity College
IN-3: Innovation 3

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Steve Kahl
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Terrahaus: a student immersive experience in a passive solar residence hall

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Terrahaus was built as a 2,200 sq ft 10 student residence hall in 2012. It is super-insulated and has solar hot water and an air-source heat pump. It is thought to be the only certified passive solar student housing in the US. The building has large two-story windows situated for maximum sunlight in the winter. The roof overhang is designed so that the solar gain is much less in the summer.

During the winter of 13-14, it was heated for $214. Students who live in TerraHaus are expected to live an energy-efficient lifestyle and to be knowledgeable about the building’s energy performance.They are participants in sustainability education and public engagement, and represent the College’s dedication to preparing the next generation of environmental leaders.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Terrahaus was heated for $21 per student during 13-14, compared to adjacent student housing which cost $400 per student. Students in Terrahaus and across campus are educated about this building performance.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum No
Research No
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services No
Energy Yes
Grounds No
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste No
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
Terrahaus is the only certified passive solar student residence in the US

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

TerraHaus is the first college residence hall in the U.S. built to the Passive House standard, a comprehensive system featuring a very well insulated, virtually airtight building which is primarily heated by passive solar gain. The Passive House standard represents the highest international standard for energy efficiency.

TerraHaus houses ten students and has a kitchen, dining room, living room, and mudroom. Students who live in TerraHaus are expected to live an energy-efficient lifestyle and to be knowledgeable about the building’s energy performance.They are participants in sustainability education and public engagement, and represent the College’s dedication to preparing the next generation of environmental leaders.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.