Highly Efficient ‘Passive Homes’ Gain Ground In US


Critics say passive houses work better in Europe because temperatures are relatively stable compared with many parts of the U.S. They also cite some pricey materials, and predict it will be tough convincing Americans to part with their thermostats and let their home regulate its own temperature.

The Stables homes are selling for about $700,000: That’s for a 2,500-square-foot luxury town house with four bedrooms, three baths, garage, garden, and energy-savvy bells and whistles like solar panels, green roofs and airtight construction. McDonald said the price is comparable to non-passive homes with similar amenities, in part because of cost savings from prefabricating the homes in modular sections and assembling them on-site.

“The way buildings have always been built is inefficient, so we’re tweaking the ways they’re built,” McDonald said. “If you do it the right way, it’s not more money.”

Sasha Best, her husband, and their 2- and 6-year-olds are moving from Manhattan’s financial district into one of The Stables townhouses in late June. After living for a year in a high-efficiency home in Germany, they returned last year to New York – where Hurricane Sandy’s destructive tear led them to rethink where they wanted to call home.

“We wanted a house that felt solid, that was large enough, in an urban environment that was part of a community, that feels like it’ll last 100 years,” she said. “We looked at 25 houses and within 10 seconds of walking into (our) house, we knew.”

Klingenberg said that in general, passive houses can cost 5 percent to 10 percent more to build. That’s largely because the specialty windows and other materials aren’t mass produced, she said, but prices go down as they become easier to get.

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Posted by on Jul 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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