Passive house cuts heating, cooling energy by 90 percent

If you happen to be anywhere near Cleveland between now and October 1, you have the opportunity to visit what is billed as the only “passive house” open for public viewing in the United States.

The house is open to the public for tours this summer and early autumn as part of a climate-change exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The two-story, 2,500-square-foot house uses an air-source heat pump instead of a furnace and requires 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than a typical home. The energy-efficient design approach is also known as “deep energy reduction” and can be used for moderate- and low-income housing as well.

Three key elements of the passive house:

  1. High levels of insulation, with walls up to 12 inches (30 cm) thick.
  2. Carefully sealed building envelope with minimal air leakage, combined with efficient heat-recovery ventilation (supports indoor air quality)
  3. High performance windows, typically triple-paned

After the exhibition closes in October, the house will be moved to a lot in a neighborhood in Cleveland, where it will become available for purchase.

Images and video of the house on display in Cleveland are available

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