A Statement in Energy Saving

A passive house, a project from Parsons the New School for Design in 2011, is so well insulated that it needs little or no energy for heating and cooling. PHOTO: MATT MCCLAIN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST/ GETTY

A passive house, a project from Parsons the New School for Design in 2011, is so well insulated that it needs little or no energy for heating and cooling. PHOTO: MATT MCCLAIN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST/ GETTY

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to combat climate change, clean the air we breathe, improve the competitiveness of our businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers. And Habitat for Humanity may be onto something with its new range of “passive” homes that aggressively save energy.

The passive standard is buoyed by efforts to fight climate change, because buildings account for 40 percent of total U.S. energy use and 10 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. In September, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed it as one way to help the Big Apple meet its goal of slashing emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050

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