‘Passive’ houses may be the future of home energy efficiency

In a few weeks the Mamaroneck, New York, home of Veronique and Francois Leblanc will be the first home in Westchester County certified as a "Passive House," reports USA TODAY. This innovative approach to green living that was developed in Germany in the 1990s requires homes to follow strict guidelines for energy efficiency. According to the source, there are currently 100 houses nationwide that have been granted this certification. 

"Basically, it's a highly insulated building, very airtight," said Andreas Benzing, the architect who is overseeing the construction of the Leblanc's home, to the publication. "You try to minimize heat loss and you try to maximize heat gain from the sun and windows."

The Mamaroneck house has 28 solar panels on the roof and six layers of insulation in every exterior wall. It's additional eco-friendly aspects include triple-pane windows and doors, an electric-car charging station and LED bulbs throughout the house.

Although the house is over 5,000-square-feet large, it's monthly power bill is only $40. It would be even lower if not for the $20 minimum distribution charge imposed by Consolidated Edison. 

According to the Passive House Alliance, homes with this certification should have the following: 

  • Ability to reduce heating costs by up to 90 percent
  • Energy generated through solar power
  • Stable temperature of 70 to 75 degrees
  • Super-insulated and airtight walls, windows and doors
  • Ventilator that constantly recirculates and refreshes the air.

Before deciding to remodel or renovate their property, homeowners should seek the advice of a home inspection contractor. This will prevent any unexpected hazards from creating bigger problems.