Eco-friendly housing is coming, and innovative ideas are going way beyond solar panels. In Brooklyn, the first ever "passive house" is being built on a simple idea: Seal that sucker up and insulate the hell out of it so heat and cold cannot escape. Using materials that hold in heat and ventilator pumps to get stale air out and bring in the fresh stuff will also tweak the temperature and keep the energy bills low.
The first airtight home being built in New York City is fascinating to me. I used to live right down the street from 96 St. Marks Avenue, where they're sealing up that apartment so it's like "living in a thermos," according to a representative of the non-profit group that certifies passives homes, as well as New York Magazine.
Also, my stepfather built our family a partially underground, highly insulated, self-heating and cooling, eco-friendly home way back in the 1980s. It wasn't pretty.
While our bills were probably low, it was ridiculously cold during the winter and sweaty in the summer. Of course he wasn't an architect, much less one of those green ones we're all so excited about these days. We had to forgo privacy in service of air circulation, and finally (thank god) we managed to blow all our savings by breaking down and buying electric blankets and floor fans.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for energy-efficient homes and lower energy bills. The more people experiment, the better this stuff is going to get. So way to go thermos home people, you rock. I, however, will be more on the side of screw the environment (for now) because I do not want to live in an airtight apartment building. Five good reasons:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Dog farts
- Isn't that how infections are spread?
- A good percentage of my Brooklyn neighbors smoked weed; shared air means you'll have to too
- In New York real estate, it's another excuse to jack up the rent
Would you live in an air-tight house?
Image via Jim Linwood/Flickr