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How It Works

The House as a System

Reducing energy use at home isn’t always as simple as replacing the light bulbs. When it comes to things like heating and cooling, different components of your house work together to determine how much energy is needed. For example, efficient insulation in the walls and roof make it harder for heat to escape, meaning that less energy is needed to keep the house warm. Even one change – like better window insulation – can have a big effect on reducing heating energy needs throughout the house.

Global Innovation

Europe’s "Passive Houses"

Taking advantage of how household energy use works like a system, Passive House design is based on three key principles: creating a thickly-insulated – almost airtight – building, where annual energy consumption is less than 120 kWH per square meter, with heat less than 15 kWh/m2. First tested in 1990 in Darmstadt, Germany, today there are over 15,000 Passive Houses, located mostly in Europe but expanding to places from the United States to Qatar.