I've been greenwashed!
Now that green is good business there's lots of talk about "greenwashing" and the danger posed by spurious claims to sustainability. If consumers feel duped after spending more money on a product they thought was eco-friendly but is actually the same old thing in a new (100% post consumer material) package, they won't buy green again - or so the argument goes.
But what if everything we've come to think about green is wrong? O.K., not wrong but, excuse my French, half-assed?
That's how I felt after learning about passive house. Like I wanted to rewind our pretty-damned-significant investment in new double-paned Low-E windows, weather stripping, duct sealing, air sealing, a high-efficiency furnace and about a million feet of insulation. Like these utility-sanctioned energy efficiency upgrades were just another bottle of Clorax Green Works dish detergent!
Passive house is the real deal
Passive house is a German energy efficiency building standard. And it makes LEED look like a bad case of greenwashing. A passive house is first and foremost a well-insulated, leak-proof building. It's so tight that you barely need to heat or cool it. There are lots of technical ways this is achieved, the vast majority using building techniques that are NOT cutting edge. No points for fancy new systems in this standard - it's all about performance.