Mental Floss

10 Smart, Passive Homes

David K. Israel

Passive homes are popping up all over Europe and Japan, and, finally, here in the U.S. What is a passive home? A house that keeps its aggression at bay, of course! No, a passive home uses insulation and an airtight shell so that barely any heat escapes and barely any cold seeps in, which means it can use up to 90% less energy than a conventional house. Appliance heat and human body heat are both used, along with the sun, to heat the house. The real kicker is that in some countries, like Germany, the real pioneers in passive home construction, these homes cost less than 10% more to build than the average home. Smart, eh?

The first image below is from a 4-bedroom, 3,000 sq ft passive home in the U.K. built by architect Richard Hawkes. The image below it is of Waldsee BioHaus in Bemidji, Minnesota - the very first passive home in the U.S. The rest of the images come from Germany mostly, and Japan. The New York Times published an amazing graphic that illustrates how air flows through the home and what makes these so energy efficient. Click the final image in the post to see the full graphic.