As Hottest Week draws to a close we didn't want to end things without bringing in some scientifically hot real estate news. The Passive House movement has already taken hold in Bethesda and the District, and now Northern Virginia is getting in on the action. Construction started earlier this summer for the above Arlington house and the two brothers who are developing it hope to have it finished by the end of the year. "We're going to be able to prove whether or not a Passive House will stay warm in the dead of winter," jokes Roger Lin, one half of the brotherly team.
These two real estate developers decided to go Passive after completing a previous project that tried to include as many green choices as possible. "We called the project 'lime green', because we were not able to quantify how green the house was," says Roger. "The materials that we used were sustainable and there was very little waste, but we were not able to say exactly how good a job it was."
Eric Lin, the other half of the team, adds that most 'green' building choices focus on where the materials come from, but they don't emphasize what happens once the house has been built and people are living in it. "If you think of a house as an envelope, or an enclosure, you need to be able to see how the house will perform over time. A house will be around for fifty or a hundred years and that will impact the environment just as much as the way it was built."
After completing the Passive House training (which is another hot topic that has been in the news lately) the duo set out to come up with a plan that would work for this Barcroft neighborhood. "The training had a lot of calculations," says Eric. "But once you start, you can use software that lets you input data and gives you a pretty basic idea of how well your idea is going to work." Passive House requirements are so strict that even having bedroom doors closed at night will impact the temperature of the overall home. This is where a few extra design features—such as well-placed vents—come into play. See our coverage of the Bethesda project for a primer on the way a Passive House works and check back next week for Part Two on how this Arlington house is following a slightly different approach (inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, no less).
· Arlington Passivhaus by Southern Exposure Homes [Official Site]
· How To Build A House With Only Two Dozen Holes [CDC]
· Empowerhouse [Official Site]
· Passive House Institute Responds To Break-Up With Passivhaus International [CDC]