Autarkhome: Sustainable Floating Passivhaus

This is a floating home that is entirely self-sufficient and docked in Maastricht, Netherlands.  Designed by Pieter Kromwijk and referred to as Autarkhome, the solar-powered project was built to the Passivhaus standard and is 10 times more energy efficient than the average dwelling of similar size.

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By |October 14th, 2012|Passive House, Single Family|4 Comments

Modern Park Passivhaus in Somerville

This is Park Passivhaus in Somerville, Massachusetts.  The home was designed to the German Passivhaus standard and is currently being built on an urban infill lot.  With modern detailing, a slender structure, and a shapely New England form by Placetailor, also the builder, Park Passivhaus will incorporate a Zehnder HRV, two Mitsubishi Mr. Slim mini-splits, and a high performance envelope with an 18″ double-wall cavity, blown-in cellulose, Makrowin windows and doors, Fakro skylights, ZIP sheathing roof, Siga tapes, Siga-Majvest membrane, Cedar and Alucubond cladding, etc.  This is an excellent project to track, especially if you’re interested in Passive House detail.

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By |October 13th, 2012|Passive House, Projects|8 Comments

Firefly is a New VAWT Small Wind Turbine

South Carolina-based Firefly Power is one of 20 other social- or environmentally-inclined companies presenting at the i2i Awards program in conjunction with SXSW Eco in Austin through Friday, October 5, 2012.  The company makes lightweight small wind turbines out of carbon-fiber blades in the vertical axis form.  The residential unit is rated at 1.8 kW, weighs less than 60 pounds, cuts in at 10 mph winds, and is expected to sell for about $7,000, according to Firefly Power.

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By |October 3rd, 2012|Conservation, Wind|0 Comments

Nest Announces New Ultra-Thin Thermostat

If you’re in the market for a better thermostat, you should know the new, second-generation Nest Learning Thermostat was announced this week.  It’s 20% thinner and works in 95% of homes with low-voltage systems (including 2nd stage cooling, 3rd stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat, and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers), thanks to new hardware, improved software, more features, and more apps.  Based on updated pricing, the first Nest is now selling for $229, as supplies last, and the new Nest is selling for $249, with first orders expected to ship on October 15, 2012.

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By |October 2nd, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets|3 Comments

Alpen HPP Buys Serious Windows Assets

If you’re a designer, builder, or future owner of a high performance home, you’ll probably be interested in knowing that fiberglass window products previously sold under the SeriousWindows brand will now be sold under the Alpen brand.  Boulder-based Alpen High Performance Products announced the purchase of assets including the fiberglass window and architectural glass operation from California-based Serious Energy, Inc.

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By |September 30th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Products|0 Comments

Passivhaus Door Handmade in the USA

Hammer and Hand, a high-performance builder with offices in Seattle and Portland, recently announced the production of ultra-efficient custom doors for use with Passive House projects.  The doors are designed and built in southeast Portland to the rigorous requirements of Passive House and help project teams avoid a potential economic premium and the carbon emissions associated with importing a similar product across the Atlantic from a European supplier.  The company’s first door — shown in video here — was installed at their Karuna House project, which is pursuing PHIUS+ Passive House, Minergie-P-ECO, LEED for Homes Platinum, and net-zero energy designations (which I’ll explore in a subsequent article).  More about custom Passive House doors.

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By |September 28th, 2012|Passive House, Products|0 Comments