Speakers' profiles 2016

Top class speakers presented their experience in the field of Passive Houses. We thank all speakers for their contributions and are already looking forward to welcoming you next year for another enriching conference!


Plenary session

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Feist

Dr. Wolfgang Feist, a physicist by training, is the founder and director of the Passive House Institute (PHI), an independent research institute founded in 1996 in Darmstadt, Germany. He has dedicated his career to the development of solutions for energy efficient buildings and increasing industry capacity worldwide through the Passive House Standard. Having researched at Tübingen, Kassel, Darmstadt und Lund University since 1973, Feist was responsible for the first Passive House building constructed in 1990/1991, which almost 25 years later still performs as initially designed. Since 2008, Dr. Feist acts as a professor of energy efficient construction and building physics at the University of Innsbruck, where he works within the Technical Sciences Faculty to spur development in the region of Tyrol, Austria.

Among his many recognitions, Dr. Feist has been awarded the following:
2001 National German Environmental Award, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) - German Environmental Foundation
2003 International Environmental Award of the City of Gothenburg
2013 Honorary Fellowship Award, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
2014 Sustainable Building Award, University City of Lund, Sweden

Mathias Samson

Mathias Samson, State Secretary of the Hesse Ministry of Economy and Energy, and native Westphalian, completed his academic studies to become a secondary teacher of geography and social sciences at the University of Bonn. Prior to that, he performed community service and a bank apprenticeship. He began his professional career at the German Federal Parliament as an office manager of Deputy Wolfgang Spanier. In 2000, he began to work at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, where he managed the State Secretary’s office. Following that, he headed the department of Environment and Transport, Electromobility. Since January 18, 2014, Mathias Samson is State Secretary at the Hesse Ministry of Economics, Transport and State Development.

Brigitte Holz

Brigitte Holz studied architecture and urban development at TH Darmstadt and ETH Zürich and works as a freelance architect and urban planner in Darmstadt, Berlin and Cottbus. After being a part of the Hessian Chamber of Architects and Town Planner’s managing board since 1996, she was elected president of the Chamber in June 2014. In 1981 she and Prof. Volker Freischlad started their own office in Darmstadt, the architecture and planning office Freischlad + Holz. In addition to that, Holz opened the office Herwarth + Holz together with Carl Herwarth von Bittenfeld in 1995. It is situated in Berlin and Cottbus. After being a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of German Architects (BDA) for four years, she was appointed to the German Academy of Urban Development and Regional Planning (DASL) in 2008.

Jochen Partsch

Jochen Partsch was born in 1962 in Hammelberg, Lower Franconia, Bavaria. He studied at the University of Göttingen, obtaining a degree in Social Sciences. After graduating, he worked in Marketing for a Stuttgart based software company, before becoming operational manager for local employment promotion at the state-wide-workgroup for deprived neighbourhoods (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Soziale Brennpunkte) for the State of Hesse in Frankfurt. In 2004 Partsch started working as a research associate and lecturer at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, where he focused on community related employment promotion in deprived neighbourhoods. In addition, he was project manager for a European project for occupational training at Werkhof Darmstadt. Partsch went on to join the city council and become head of the department for social affairs, youth, housing, labour, women’s policy and intercultural affairs for the city of Darmstadt. In June 2011, he was elected as mayor of Darmstadt.

Claude Turmes

Claude Turmes is Member of the European Parliament where his main area of focus is on European energy policy, renewables, energy efficiency, European transport policy, green economy, policies on corporate social responsibility and transparency of lobbying, as well as health and social policies. Since 1999 he has been a member of the Greens/EFA group and held the position of Vice President of the Green Group of the European Parliament from 2002 to 2014. Current and past activities in the European Parliament have included membership of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), and Rapporteur of the Directive on Renewable Energies, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the second directive on the liberalization of the energy market, as well as coordinator on energy issues for the Green Group. Prior to taking up his mandate in the European Parliament, Mr Turmes was active in Friends of the Earth Luxembourg on issues of climate change, energy and the WTO. He held the position of a Sports teacher in Luxembourg in 1983 to 1999 following his graduation in Sports Studies at the University of Louvain la Neuve in Belgium.

Scott Foster

Scott Foster has been Director of UNECE's Sustainable Energy Division since 2011. With more than 35 years' experience in energy, Mr. Foster has worked extensively with governments, industry, and international organizations on energy policy, market design and regulation, and climate change strategies. Mr. Foster's particular focus recently has been assisting energy stakeholders address the critical challenges of sustainability, technology choice, and investment mobilization. Before founding Nomad Energy Consulting in 2004, Mr. Foster was VP of Global Regulatory Affairs with AES Corporation, Senior Director for Global Power with Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), and Senior Expert on Electricity for the International Energy Agency. Mr. Foster holds a BA from Dartmouth College, an MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Dr. Heinrich Bottermann

Dr. Heinrich Bottermann worked as a veterinarian in the district of Borken from 1985 to 1990. From 1990 to 1993 he was Head of Health Senator of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen before he became Head of Unit in the Ministry of Health. He then worked as Head of Unit for Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicines in the Department of Environment and Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia (MUNLV, 1995-2007),  as Director of the State Office of Food Economics and Hunting NRW (2003 to 2006) and as Deputy Head of the Department of Agriculture in MUNLV. From August 2007 to September 2013 Bottermann was President of the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia, an agency with approximately 1,400 employees. In 2013, Dr. Heinrich Bottermann was appointed Secretary General of the German Federal Environmental Foundation.





Workshop presenters


Kristin Bräunlich

Kristin Bräunlich is a researcher at the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, where she has worked since 2010 in the field of active ventilation. She previously studied Environmental Engineering in Glauchau, Germany. Following her studies she worked for LMC Medical Components GmgH in the area of ventilation concepts for operating rooms in hospitals. She is currently involved in the certification of Passive House ventilation systems, several EU-funded projects and research projects on the topic of cost effective HVAC solutions. Furthermore, she is the project manager for a monitoring project of different internal insulation solutions.




Dr. Rainer Pfluger

Dr. Rainer Pfluger is a Mechanical Engineer by training who received his degree from the University of Stuttgart in 1998 and his doctorate in 2002. Dr. Pfluger worked as a research scientist at the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany from 1999 to 2008 in the research department and in the areas of quality assurance and certification. Since 2008, he has researched and taught at the University of Innsbruck in the department of Energy Efficient Building and has focused on sustainable building retrofits and the cost reduction for ventilation. His postdoctoral thesis in 2014 focused on the use of the Passive House concept for increased energy efficiency of new construction and renovations in terms of building physics and building services. Through this work he obtained his teaching qualification for building physics and building services engineering. Dr. Pfluger has served as a project manager on various national and international research projects through FFG, INTERREG and the EU. He currently works in consulting, monitoring and simulation of both residential and non-residential Passive House projects. He also contributes to the development of energy efficient building components and products and has served as an expert on the scientific advisory board for the International Passive House Conference and other scientific conferences and standardization bodies.

Elisabeth Sibille

Elisabeth Sibille graduated with a master’s degree in civil engineering from the Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l’Etat in France. Since 2011, she is a scientific assistant of Dr. Feist at the Unit for Energy Efficient Buildings, at the University of Innsbruck. She specialises in ventilation systems for residential buildings, on which she has taken part in several research projects. She is currently writing her PhD thesis on this topic. Her main focus is “low-tech” ventilation systems for residential buildings, particularly for renovations. She is also part of the team of the Passive House Institute since 2013, currently focused on this topic, especially in the frame of the current EU project Sinfonia in which renovations of social residential buildings in Innsbruck and Bolzano take place.



Window Workshop

Franz Freundorfer

Franz Freundorfer is a specialist in Passive House wooden window design with additional extensive experience in building physics, Passive House and the Passive House Planning Package. Following his high school education, he studied wood technology through an apprenticeship as a carpenter with a window manufacturer. Following this time, Franz spent two years working for a window manufacturer, prior to starting his independent career and PHC. Between 1995 and 2004 more than 25 wooden window designs for Passive Houses were introduced into the market.

Since 2007, Franz Freundorfer has been a course provider for the Certified Passive House Designer designation. To date, nearly 2000 planners have been taught across Europe. In conjunction with the Passive House Institute, Franz started training for Certified Passive House Tradespeople in 2012. Franz is an avid proponent of the Passive House concept and is dedicated to providing a training solution for the growing passive house market and associated need for quality assurance.

Dr. Benjamin Krick

Dr. Benjamin Krick works as a senior scientist at the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, where he is chairman of the Component Certification divison. His activities are focused on the field of energy efficient, cost-effective windows and evaluation of the sustainable energy supply for buildings. Born in 1976, Krick studied and researched at the Hochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and the University of Kassel, where he received his PhD. in 2008 in experimental construction. As a trainer and author of numerous papers and books, he disseminates his knowledge on energy efficient, cost-effective, sustainable building.



PHPP Workshops

Jan Steiger

Born in Stuttgart in 1974, Jan Steiger pursued a career as a traditional architect through his studies at the University of Stuttgart complemented with various internships. He became inspired by the Passive House Standard in 2004 working for Michael Tribus Architecture in South Tyrol as internal project manager on energy efficiency and Passive House projects. As of 2011, Jan has worked as a researcher at the Passive House Institute where he leads the development of PHPP and thereby is involved in the coordination of projects such as the DEEVi and the EU-funded project EuroPHit. Always seeking to provide a simple understanding of cost-effective and energy-efficient construction, Jan is also an experienced speaker and certifier of buildings, doors and building systems.Bausystemen.

Jessica Grove-Smith

Jessica Grove-Smith graduated with a master’s degree in physics (MPhys) from the University of Sussex in England. She has been part of the research team at the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt since 2008. Her responsibilities range from stationary and dynamic energy demand modelling, climate data for the PHPP and hygrothermal simulations of individual building components. The application of the Passive House concept for indoor swimming pools has also been a main focus of her work, as well as contributions to the renewable primary energy assessment method that is being introduced for the new Passive House classes.



Esther Gollwitzer

Esther Gollwitzer studied architecture at both the Technical University of Darmstadt and at KTH in Stockholm. Subsequently she developed  detailed designs of non-residential and commercial PV systems while working at Goldbeck GmbH. Since 2009 she has worked as a researcher at the Passive House Institute. She specializes in research, consulting and energy calculations for non-residential buildings, in particular indoor swimming pools, and in the development of PHPP (Passive House Planning Package). Esther is also responsible for the certificaiton of window frames and shutters in the area of thermal bridge calculations. She has also served as a presenter.


Zeno Bastian

Zeno Bastian has worked at the Passive House Institute since 2007. He studied architecture at the Universities of Hanover and Stuttgart as well as the University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián in Spain, graduating with a major in Energy Efficient Buildings. Following his graduation, he worked as a construction site supervisor for the refurbishment of two large apartment buildings to near Passive House Standard. At the Passive House Institute, Zeno works as a senior scientist, specializing in energy retrofit with Passive House components. He is also project leader of the “Research Group on Cost-Efficient Passive Houses” and author of a comprehensive Handbook on Renovation with Passive House Components.


Tips & Tricks for designPH

Dragoș Arnăutu

Dragoș Arnăutu is an Architect at the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt. He joined the Passive House team in 2012, working in the field of building consultancy and certification. He previously studied architecture at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and was awarded a Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) Internship at the Passive House Institute.

Besides building consultancy and certification, Dragoș is currently involved in the development of an Online Certification Platform and designPH. Dragoș teaches responsible architecture and believes the Passive House Movement is on the right path towards achieving sustainability.

Camille Sifferlen

Camille Sifferlen is a graduate architect from France, who has worked in the field of sustainable construction in her home country as well as in Spain, China, Australia and Germany. She is a particular advocate of the Passive House Standard, because it can be adapted to different climate zones and building types. Camille has worked at the Passive House Institute since 2015, where she mainly focuses on training and education. In addition to developing the e-learning platform, Camille regularly gives lectures and courses on energy efficiency and the planning tool designPH.



David Edwards

David Edwards studied both Physics at the University of Durham and later Architecture (Part I, University of Nottingham, Part II, Centre for Alternative Technology). Before joining PHI, he worked in various UK architectural practices in Nottingham and London, specialising mainly in housing. He first discovered PHPP whilst studying for a Masters in "Architecture: Sustainability and Design" and was quickly impressed by the attention to detail and openness of the calculations. Shortly afterwards he took the qualification to become a Certified Passivhaus Consultant. Since 2012 he has worked for the Passive House Institute as the creator and developer of designPH, working remotely at the 'virtual' PHI office in London. In the UK, David has provided the designPH training modules for the AECB Carbonlite programme and has been a guest tutor, teaching PHPP and designPH to students, at University of Sheffield, UCL Energy Institute, University of Brighton, Centre for Alternative Technology and others.

Harald Konrad Malzer

Harald Konrad Malzer studied architecture at the University of Innsbruck. After having worked as a research assistant at the university for several years, he was put in charge of the organizational management of the Passive House Institute in Innsbruck in 2010. Within the Passive House Institute, Harald is leading the EU project FP7 Smart Cities – SINFONIA and is responsible for setting up and programming a database to determine Best-Practice solutions, including evaluation; the methodological development of retrofit concepts as well as the co-conception and data analysis of the district-tool, which is aimed at the energetic evaluation of districts. In 2012, he began to design the 3D-CAD Plugin designPH. This includes the development of the software as such, technical support and giving lectures on designPH and PHPP. 




Passive House Basics Course

Søren Peper

Søren Pepper studied environmental engineering in Hamburg, focusing his thesis work in 1995 to allow the comparison between actual consumption data and planned values of a multi-family low energy house. He has worked as researcher at the Passive House Institute since 1998 where he coordinated the Research and Measurement group. Søren primarily focuses on monitoring buildings built to the Passive House Standard, both for new construction and retrofits. He has authored many research reports on a variety of different building types such as residential, schools and daycare centers, factories, office buildings and indoor swimming pools. Søren is also a specialist in airtightness and has worked on publications for airtightness measurement. He is a certified tester and a member of the asociation for airtightness in buildings (FLiB).

Robert Persch

Robert Persch studied electrical engineering in Berlin and Trier. Between 1996 and 2009, he worked as an Energy and Climate Protection Officer for the city of Bensheim, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the city’s energy concept. Since 2009, Robert Persch has worked at the Department for Environmental Protection, Trade Control and Energy for the city of Heidelberg, where he deals with local energy management and ecological urban development. As a passive house planner, he contributes to the quality management in the development of the zero emissions district “Bahnhstadt” Heidelberg. In addition, he is on the board of directors for the Heidelberg Energy Association as well as a member of Metropolsolar and supports the development of renewable energy resources within the region.


Prof. Dr. Werner Friedl

Professor Werner Friedl is an architect and has been a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences since 2014. He teaches building construction, building physics, Passive House design and energy efficient and sustainable building. He is a certified Passive House planner and a Passive House trainer, as well as being an expert in regulations relating to the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV). Friedl is also an on-site consultant for the Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) and is registered as an energy efficiency expert for funding programs from the German government.

Friedl has his own architectural practices in Adelzhausen (Bavaria) and another one in Darmstadt. In the late 1990s, he specialized in energy efficient building design and started building his first Passive House in 1999. In 2006, he received the Environmental Award of the rural district of Aichach-Friedberg and in 2009 he received the Future Award for Passive House projects implemented in Augsburg. He also publishes and writes specialist literature in the field of energy-saving building, particularly focusing on the Energy Saving Ordinance.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Krajewski

Professor Wolfgang Krajewski has worked as a civil engineer since 1975. He is also a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, where he teaches Geotechnics, Tunnel Building and Environmental Engineering. In 2010, Krajewski was appointed dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. In addition, he has been working as a freelance expert for the German federal railway organization, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the Chamber of Engineers in Hesse, where he is responsible for earth and foundation work as well as rock building. Krajewski is also a member of several associations including the German Geotechnical Society and the International Society for Rock Mechanics. In 1986, he was awarded with the Borcher Medal of the RWTH Aachen and in 1987 with the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Prize.


Arne Keßler

Arne Keßler completed a bachelor’s programme in Environmental Protection with a focus on Environmental Engineering at the University of Applied Science Bingen in Germany. He went on to complete a master’s degree in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency from the University of Kassel. Since 2010, Keßler has worked at hessenENERGIE in Wiesbaden, where he is responsible for technical support in several Hessian funding programmes. His main responsibilities lie in the energy related optimization of building modernization as well as the construction of new Passive House buildings. In addition, Keßler supports the Hessian Ministry of Economy, concerning the implementation and execution of the German Renewable Energy Heat Act (EEWärmeG) within the State of Hesse.


Gernot Vallentin

Gernot Vallentin studied at Munich Technical University and founded his own architectural practice in 1993 (ArchitekturWerkstatt Vallentin), which he has been running together with his wife Rena Vallentin since 1996. His main focus is on energy-efficient construction – especially the Passive House standard. The Passive House standard became the minimum standard for offices, with an increasing number of projects being completed to the PlusEnergy standard. Vallentin is a member of the jury and lecturer at Passive House conferences in Germany and abroad where he passes on his extensive knowledge and provides support for the design of highly efficient buildings and urban concepts.

Vallentin actively promotes sustainable building nationally and internationally. In 2014 he received the “Passive House Award” for international architecture, for his seminar and guest house in Korea. In 2013, Vallentin initiated the memorandum “new building in times of climate change and energy transition”, which calls for a re-evaluation of architecture (Memorandum Neues Bauen in Zeiten von Klimawandel und Energiewende). He was awarded with the Federal Cross of Merit in 2012, for his commitment to the area of energy-efficient building.

Oliver Kah

Oliver Kah, a trained physicist, worked as a research associate at the University of Siegen between 1999 and 2001. His main focus was on the area of building physics and solar energy. Since 2001, he has worked at the Passive House Institute, where he deals with the energy efficiency potential of non-residential buildings, building technology and the development of energy balance methods.


Marianne Fujara

Marianne Fujara is a senior civil engineer who joined the Passive House Institute in 2010. Having worked as CEO of a construction company for 25 years, she disposes of longstanding experience in project development and implementation of all kinds of construction projects. Furthermore, she is trained in integrated design, quality assurance and international project coordination. Among others, Fujara coordinated the IEE co-funded PassREg project and offers trainings for architects and engineers in the field of Passive House design and construction. She is currently involved in the EU funded project Built2Spec.


Cooling and dehumidification

Jürgen Schnieders

Jürgen Schnieders is physicist and part of Passive House Institute's scientific staff since 1997. Apart from consultancy in building projects, monitoring evaluation, development of PHPP, and all kinds of simulations, he is particularly dedicated to taking the Passive House approach to warm and hot climates. Jürgen wrote a Ph.D. thesis on "Passive Houses in South West Europe" and was project leader of several studies on Passive Houses for different climates.




Tomas Mikeska

Tomas Mikeska joined the team at Passive House Institute in 2014. He received his Phd degree in Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark in 2015. Tomas has been focusing on energy efficiency in buildings during most of his studies and sees the Passive House concept as a very natural way of building houses. His areas of expertize are technical installations in buildings with special focus on heating and cooling solutions. At Passive House Institute he is involved in the development of certification schemes for heat pumps.