New York developers ditch AC, heating for green alternative

An exciting new conservation-minded building technique has made its way to the United States, the New York Times reported.

“Passive houses,” or “zero energy,” houses, maintain a comfortable interior temperature without active heating or air conditioning by using a system of interior and exterior air exchange, according to the Passivhaus Institut, which administers the standard. As a result, they use less than a quarter of the energy of a traditionally powered home.

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New York developers are now making use of the technique, which is used in 32,000 passive houses worldwide; one developer is employing them at a multi-family development in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn at 96 St. Marks Avenue.

“Historically, green homes have fetched a premium,” said Brendan Aguayo, the developer of the St. Marks Avenue house, “and we feel ‘passive house’ is the most tangible type of green home. I’ve seen green homes fetch anywhere from a 5 to 30 percent premium.” [NYT]