Member Highlight

John Notermann

John is an active member of our PHMN chapter who has really stepped up to add value to the chapter. 

What’s your background?
Personally, I have a wonderful wife and 4 young kids who keep me busy and take up most of that “spare time.” On the work side, l have multiple backgrounds including professional singing work, which I do currently along with my wife. This work consists mainly of weekend church music and singing for funerals, weddings, and other events. Outside of the performing arts space, I have also been in the construction work space as a carpenter up until the pandemic, at which time I chose to stay home for family reasons.  But before you even bother to ask, I’ll answer your question and say ‘yes’ it is quite unique and also kind of enjoyable to have my feet in two different worlds that don’t seem to cross all too often, namely performing arts and construction, but I like to bridge that gap in a lot of different ways.

How did you get interested in Passive House design and why are you working to promote it?

I became interested through my love of construction. My wife suggested looking up “Passive House,” after we saw one built near our home in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Lexington Avenue designed by PH architect Tim Eian.  Additionally, I have always loved working on my own house (though lately with 4 kids,  not surprisingly, I have found it much more difficult to devote the time).  When we had one daughter, I was able to re-insulate and remodel the half story of our St Paul 1 1/2 story 1950’s home.  I did this with my dad and another friend though, unfortunately, this predated my knowledge of Passive House. Only a couple years later when we looked up the Lexington House, did I fall in love with the idea of super insulating, airtight enclosures and efficient HRVs, particularly in the colder Minnesota climate.  I spent the better part of the pandemic reading about PH techniques and practices and all things building science, and within this past year became a member of the PHMN chapter.  I have a personal goal to eventually work exclusively on Passive House construction as a carpenter or at the least to make connections and further promote Passive House. In any case, I am motivated by the climate crisis at hand to promote PH and high energy performance construction within my own spheres of influence as a solution to this crisis. 

You did a Passive House to the People presentation last fall – what was that experience like? Would you recommend doing that presentation to other members – why?

It was fantastic! It was great to bridge that gap between this game-changing building science and those who need and want to know about it, but haven’t been exposed to it yet. I also enjoyed explaining the ideas a little more in depth when necessary and going slightly off script to answer the group’s questions. They all were profusely thankful and I hope that something can come of it in the future, whether someone perhaps builds to the PH standard or HP (high performance) as result of my presentation or folks decide to spread the word themselves.

Yes, I would highly recommend giving this presentation, if members are interested. Not only does it help solidify your own knowledge and PH elevator speech, but you never know when you might light that spark of passion in someone else!

What are you working on right now for the PHMN chapter?

In addition to talking about Passive House and HP construction to anyone who will listen, I’m currently promoting and helping organize a Twin Cities-located Certified Passive House Tradesperson class in March 2023. As I mentioned, I’ve been most interested in trying to stand in the gap and bring contractors and tradespeople who do the physical work to a trained knowledge of this standard as my way of “lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness” of a looming crisis – a candle, I might add, that lights as well as heats a house if it’s built Passive 😉  Helping out with the CPHT training seemed like a good fit when the idea was proposed within the PHMN chapter. I also haven’t myself taken the course or test, so I will be amongst the group here in MN taking it the week of March 20th. Let all your friends know about it!  

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