Archive for the ‘Building Efficiency’ Category

Thank you for visiting!

February 27, 2012

This checklist was labor of love and feverish activity in 2008 and 2009.  But then this blog quieted down as I shifted my energy toward radically remaking how I do my business, how I build buildings – finding in the process, the Passive House building standard, and it is fair to say, a new phase of my life began.  


Working as an architect, a promoter, an activist, an organizer and an importer of stuff – my focus on climate change mitigation is narrower and deeper,  a better explanation as David Deutch might say, of my concern about the climate crises and a more useful action toward addressing it.  

All this is to say that while I’ll likely leave this webpage up for some time – I encourage you to find out more about Passive House and high-performance building generally.   Check out my new business that is solely focused on helping people achieve high performance, Four Seven Five.  Because a truly high performing building, a building operating at Passive House levels is perhaps the biggest and most profound bite we can take out of our carbon emissions – putting us on a carbon reduction trajectory that is proportionate with the crisis at hand. 


These, and the organizations and business working with them are changing the world.   I encourage you to find out more and get involved.



Best Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Guide

September 26, 2009

Environmental Defense FundWhile LEDs look to be the future, for the time being compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are the mass market answer to efficiency.    So as we just brought up lighting, see: I Love This Light Bulb! –  I want to share  a great guide to CFLs.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s Find an Energy-Saving Light Bulb.   It is an easy to use, common sense and comprehensive guide to the myriad of options, including dimmable, 3-way and  outdoor CFL light bulbs.

People hesitate to get CFLs for many reasons:  they don’t dim, the color can be off, or the quality poor.   But there are great CFLs out there – dimmable, with excellent color and are long lasting.   This site simply and comprehensively guides you to the CFL bulb you can be happy with.    (Hopefully they will start adding LEDs soon.)  Check it out.

I love this light bulb!

September 26, 2009

LED vs. IncandescentIt’s a new LED by Philips that very well matches the color quality of our beloved round incandescent bulbs, yet use one sixth the energy – thereby leapfrogging compact fluorescents in both energy savings and reliable light quality – and in the process, win the Department of Energy’s L Prize. Best part, they’ve been designed to screw into our standard sockets.

Build a Better Bulb for a $10 Million Prize by Eric A. Taub and Leora Broydo Vestel brings us the story.

Of course they’ll cost an arm and a leg at first. But like other new technology we should expect the costs to precipitously drop. I just want to get my hands on one to test it out. They don’t seem to have hit the dealers yet. But when I do find one I’ll report back my – informal – results.

“A Tale of Two (Passive) Houses” Presentation

August 25, 2009

headerOn the heels of the Energy Circle blog posts, I’m pleased to announce that I will be presenting my firm’s Brooklyn Cohousing project at this year’s Urban Green Expo in New York City on September 22nd.  The presentation, A Tale of Two (Passive) Houses, will include a second project, R-House, a single family house in Syracuse NY, by Stephen Cassell of Architecture Research Office.   David White of Right Environments will offer an overview of the Passive House methodology and James Lima of HR&A Advisors will address proactive public policy encouraging high efficiency construction.   The presentations will conclude with a roundtable discussion and Q&A.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Passive House construction it should make for an interesting hour.

Title:  A Tale of Two (Passive) Houses,  Session #25

Time:  Tuesday, September 22nd at 3:30pm

Place:  Urban Green Expo, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY

Passive House Introduction Posts at Energy Circle

August 23, 2009
Levenson McDavid Architects P.C.

Levenson McDavid Architects P.C.

I’m pleased to announce that the great effeciency website Energy Circle has posted two of a series I’m writing, introducing Passive House methodology to a wider audience. (Part 1 & Part 2.)To quote myself from the first post:

Simply put, Passive House is the most rigorous energy standard today. Passive House methodology focuses on cost-effectively optimizing, in a truly integrated and highly controlled and predictable manner, those building elements essential to providing thermal/environmental comfort: the exterior (building) envelope and ventilation systems.

In the second post I discuss in some detail the typical characteristics of Passive House such as thermal comfort:

The combination of air-tightness, superinsulation and high performance windows eliminates typical air temperature stratification – so that the temperature at the floor is the same as that at the ceiling, and is virtually the same at the exterior wall as it is at the interior wall. Because the fresh filtered airflow is constant in all occupied rooms, there is much less dust in the space. All these improvements not only lead to greater occupant comfort and health, but occupant comfort at higher temperatures in the summer and lower temperatures in the winter than would be typical.

To illustrate the approach I discuss our ongoing work for our wonderful clients Brooklyn Cohousing. The two posts are short and very readable – I hope you have a look as I believe the Passive House approach to building will play a significant part in addressing our climate challenge.  

Future posts in the series will take a detailed look at specific aspects of Passive House.  Stay tuned.