Bethesda Home is Area's First Passive House

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    You may not think of your house as being active. But architect David Peabody says it probably is.

    "In the winter, it's being heated most of the time," he says. "And in the summer, you've got an air conditioner running, so that's always on."

    That's why Peabody is on a mission to build "Passive Houses."

    "You're using super insulation, making buildings very, very tight. In the end, a passive house uses 10 percent of the heating and cooling energy of a regular house," he says.

    Peabody and builder Brendan O’Neill Jr. just completed the first certified Passive House in the D.C. area. At a home in Bethesda, Md., thick layers of insulation line the walls, and three panes of glass cover the windows.

    "You're using about the equivalent of a hair dryer to heat a passive house. And the energy equivalent for cooling is maybe like a car, a car's air conditioner," Peabody says.

    And the passive movement is picking up, with projects planned for Virginia and D.C.

    "A third of all greenhouse gases are from buildings. Architects are either part of the solution or part of the problem," he says.

    It's hard to ignore climate change, Peabody says. But at least you can insulate yourself against it.

    Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

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