The #IceBoxChallengeDC is a contest.
It’s also a public science demonstration that invites the public to discover the benefits of high-performance buildings.

An experiment in high-performance building design and construction

The Ice Box Challenge comprises two small structures. One is built to the Standard Building Code, and the other is built to the super-insulated Passive House Standard. Each Ice Box contains 1,800 ibs. of ice. The Ice Boxes are left outside in the summer sun for one month. Then they are opened and the amount of ice left in each box is measured. How much ice is left indicates how well each Ice Box keeps out the summer heat.

Comfortable & efficient design

High-performance buildings are reliable, affordable, comfortable buildings that keep the indoors in and the outdoors out. They stay comfortable and quiet throughout the year, including through summer heatwaves, winter storms and power outages.

The buildings use up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than other buildings do, while maintaining good indoor ventilation and air quality. They are easy to maintain. They are also affordable to build, own, live in, and work in.

About the organizer

The Challenge was made possible by the European Union,, Golden Triangle BID, and Nicholson Kovalchick (NK) Architects.

Sponsorship was provided by Rockwool, SIGA and Cascadia Windows and Doors. Install was completed by CruxHomes. Further assistance and support from Passive House Western PA and the North American Passive House Network Conference + Expo 2018 (NAPHN18).

Did You Know? 

The boxes you see today were designed and built in Vancouver (BC) and presented as part of the Vancouver Ice Box Challenge in Summer 2017. The boxes are now on tour, visiting Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington (DC), Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Portland (OR) by the end of 2018.

During the New York City Ice Box Challenge (presented as part of the Brussels Days Celebration), the Brussels Capital-Region commissioned Belgian street artist Oli-B to paint the boxes, creating a colorful interpretation of two alternate futures for building practice.

Many thanks to all of the past contributors of the Ice Box Challenge!