Net zero development uses high performance windows

Net zero development uses high performance windows

Photo courtesy of Eco Village

Eco Village, the largest passive house development in the U.S. is adding 40 units that will meet the Passive House standard.

The original 40 homes and 4-story apartment building in the housing cooperative in Ithaca, New York, meet the Passive House standard and also are net zero, or generate as much energy as they use.

The development is a co-housing sustainable community, a type of intentional living in which residents choose to live in community, sharing in the design and life of their neighborhood. Residents live in private homes with typical amenities and also share indoor and outdoor gathering places, utility and recreational facilities, gardens, and more.

“Co-housing communities all over the world are getting a lot of attention right now,” said Executive Director Liz Walker. “We’re doing something that people really want: to live in a community in a way that respects and honors the earth.”

One of the building technologies used in the development is high performance windows from Intus, which reduce energy loss through and around the windows, making it easier to achieve net zero living.

 “Net Zero, not to be confused with the old school Internet service provider from the late 1990s, is the future of construction here in the UnitedStates and around the world,” says Aurimas Sabulis, managing director of Intus Windows. “In Ithaca New York, the future is here, with one of the largest green building communities, known as Eco Village and we at Intus are proud to be a part of it.”

According to Sabulis, Eco Village has one of the largest numbers, if not the largest number, of passive houses in the United States and Ithaca is recognized as being in the forefront in terms of renewable energy. 

The housing cooperative is currently embarking on a 40-unit expansion, which includes several residences, all already purchased, that meet the stringent Passive House Institute of the United States standards for extreme energy efficiency. There are fewer than 100 residential units that meet those standards in the entirety of these United States.

“A passive house is one that’s designed to absorb solar energy and trap the sun inside,” Sabulis explains. “The buildings are all designed to meet some level of LEED or Passive House certification and many of them have been LEED Platinum certified.”

The buildings are super insulated, he explains, with smaller and very energy efficient windows from Intus and feature electric air source heat pumps for heating and cooling.

“These buildings use very little energy compared to an average home,” he says. “There are several details that are unconventional but for the most part the construction meets New York State building codes.”

From a cosmetic standpoint, the homes in Eco Village are traditional.

“They’re still made out of wood, they still have drywall, and all that,” Sabulis explains. “How the homes are designed for efficiency and how they are built is what varies from more traditional house building concepts, but that’s what makes them so energy efficient after all.”

Read more about Passive House.

Topics: Passive House, Solar Power, Sustainable Communities, Windows

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