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American Passive House Developments

A Passive House is a highly energy-efficient building, one that can be conditioned passively without much, if any, fossil fuel use. 

This approach to designing superinsulated, airtight buildings was first used in the United States to create single-family homes.

Over the last two years, however, architects and builders have scaled up and branched out, constructing the next generation of Passive House buildings, including large multifamily, mixed-use, and commercial buildings—and often at no or a very small cost premium. Find out how in this design primer aimed at developers, builders, and architects of zero- and near-zero-energy buildings.

“Passive House, a method of building that traces its roots to American pioneers such as Amory Lovins, is the world’s leading energy efficiency standard for buildings. It applies to all building types, allowing people to save energy in their homes and workplaces without sacrificing comfort. Now, Mary James, a leading voice in the American Passive House movement, lucidly articulates that Passive House is not just a residential phenomenon by showcasing a sampling of intriguing current projects including multifamily developments, commercial kitchens, and brownstone renovations.”

—Greg Duncan, Certified Passive House Designer, VP New York Passive House

“As an architect, I constantly see buildings that are stunning artistic expressions. Many, however, clearly do not contribute to our urgent need to end our dependence on carbon. American Passive House Developments shows the details we need to learn, so that we, as architects and builders, can integrate low-energy solutions into our own aesthetic visions, and give a damn.”

—James Bill, Zero Impact Architecture