Passive is not how I would characterize the D.C. area. Ambitious, passionate, and up for a challenge—now, that more aptly describes the Capital region and the mission of bringing passive houses to the area. A passive house meets rigorous, voluntary energy efficiency standards and requires little energy for heating or cooling. The construction of passive housing is typically more expensive upfront, but owners can recoup their investment through energy savings.
Brothers Eric Lin, an interior designer, and Roger Lin, a former real estate attorney, teamed up to build a high end passive house, which just recently went on the market. This home not only reduces energy consumption, but is also beautifully designed and landscaped. The brothers are keeping a fascinating construction diary documenting their green journey.
Passive housing has a presence in the District, too. The Washington, D.C. Habitat for Humanity has built one passive house in the District and is planning the construction of six more passive homes. The passive homes can reduce energy consumption between 80 and 90%, which keeps both the home’s ecological impact—and the owners’ utility bills—very low.
The diversity of these projects in the same geographical area proves that whether you’re building high end or modest housing, a passive house might be perfect in the infamously aggressive D.C. region.
Lynn Meyer is a Presidential Management Fellow on detail with EERE's Communications and Outreach office in Washington, D.C.