I’m a conservative. I’m also Scandinavian.
I believe in the power of the unfettered free market. I also believe in “waste not, want not” and squeezing twelve cents out of a dime.
I believe in economic free choice. I also have little patience for the “Nuke the Whales” and “Carbon Belch” schools of “conservative” conspicuous consumption.
And so while I reject the whole idea of top-down statist control of our economy (especially in pursuit of ecological initiatives based on groupthink-passing-off-as-science that even scientists are starting to cast off), I also figure “a buck that I save on gas or heat is a buck I can spend on microbrew, guns, ammo, Polish vodka, or grossly-undervalued stock”.
A house that doesn’t need heat? I’m interested:
The concept of the passive house, pioneered in [Darmstadt, Germany], approaches the challenge from a different angle. Using ultrathick insulation and complex doors and windows, the architect engineers a home encased in an airtight shell, so that barely any heat escapes and barely any cold seeps in. That means a passive house can be warmed not only by the sun, but also by the heat from appliances and even from occupants’ bodies.And in Germany, passive houses cost only about 5 to 7 percent more to build than conventional houses.
Which, to be fair, is still a bundle; Germany has some pretty brutal land prices and building codes.
Which only means we in the US have more to work with.
When I started reading this, I thought about the thousands of acres of new, air-stingy mcmansions in the Twin Cities’ ‘burbs that are heading for early dates with the wrecking ball due to mold and air problems.
Problem, apparently, solved:
Decades ago, attempts at creating sealed solar-heated homes failed, because of stagnant air and mold. But new passive houses use an ingenious central ventilation system. The warm air going out passes side by side with clean, cold air coming in, exchanging heat with 90 percent efficiency.
“The myth before was that to be warm you had to have heating. Our goal is to create a warm house without energy demand,” said Wolfgang Hasper, an engineer at the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt. “This is not about wearing thick pullovers, turning the thermostat down and putting up with drafts. It’s about being comfortable with less energy input, and we do this by recycling heating.”
If the Germans can build an airtight rowhouse that works, certainly American ingenuity can turn the idea into a standalone personal castle. Right?