In the last 10 years more than 15,000 buildings in Europe, from single family residences to entire factories, have been built or remodeled to the passive house standard. This means that, among other factors, these structures use 90% less energy, and it’s done, for the most part, by simply better utilizing the natural resources of the surrounding environment. To begin with, a passive house is virtually airtight. It’s also equipped with an energy recovery ventilator that provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply, minimizing energy losses and providing top rate indoor air quality. Furthermore, instead of relying on active systems to bring a building to zero energy, passive houses use natural resources like sunlight, for example, and apply them efficiently.
Buildings that meet the passive house standard are popping up all over the world, but only recently has Japan finally built their very first passive house in Kamakura, a small city 30 miles from Tokyo.