Today, the most viewed and emailed article on the NY Times is one on Passive House, “Can we Build in a Brighter Shade of Green?“  The concept of Passive House has been growing in popularity over the last eight years or so, especially in green building circles.  These homes are ultra energy-efficient and, with some on-site energy generation, can be energy neutral or energy producing.

Specifically, according to Passive House Institute US, a Passive House must be airtight, or have less than 0.6 air changes per hour with an air pressure difference of 50 Pascals. It must also use very little energy, or no more than 15 kWh/m2 per year for heating and 15 kWh/m2 per year for cooling, as well as no more than 120 kWh/m2 per year for primary energy.

I’ve mentioned several of these houses — some completed and others under construction — in the past couple years:

The Landau House mentioned in the above-referenced article is under construction in Vermont.  Designed by ZeroEnergy Design and built by Bensonwood Homes, the new home will have roughly 17″ thick walls, an ERV, solar hot water, and a small solar photovoltaic system.

[+] An energy-saving home rises in Vermont.

Credit: NY Times.