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The Latest Real Estate and Design Trend: 'Passive' House Lands in the Castro

The Latest Real Estate and Design Trend: 'Passive' House Lands in the Castro
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By Waiyde Palmer - Published on December 14, 2013.
The Passive Home built on 19th St. here in the Castro.
The Passive Home built on 19th St. here in the Castro.
Europe's latest architectural design trend, an ecologically sound 'Passive House', based on today's highest level of  cutting edge energy conservation has arrived in the Castro. The Passive House concept is simple: build homes that represent today's highest energy standard with the promise of slashing heating energy consumption by an amazing 90%. This design is common in Europe but rare in the US. SF's first was recently built at 4564 19th St. in the Castro. The tech happy design and construction allows this new home to skip the need for a furnace. Instead it relies on a Heat Recovery Ventilator and is so tightly-sealed that it's heated by the appliances, lighting and occupants. No heating or cooling bills and no massive ecological, energy sucking foot print left on Mother Earth. Other features within the forward thinking, carbon neutral home are triple paned glass windows and super solid doors. They block ambient City noise outside, provide a quiet and peaceful interior, and keep the home heated by trapping its heat.
How Passive Homes Work
How Passive Homes Work
This new addition to the Castro is collaboration between Hood + Thomas Architects and Ewen Utting of ENU Construction dubbed Equilibrium House and is designed to the European Passivhaus standard. This type of design isn't cheap. The new 4-bed, 5.5-bath house replaced a dilapidated house from 1912 hit the market for a whooping $3.8 mill and the sale is already pending. My only criticism is that its post modern utilitarian future vision exterior could use a little more in the aesthetic department. It needs to be 'San Franciscoed'. Perhaps if it was painted shocking pink and geometric, off-center rectangles outlining the spartan window features were added? The future will not be inexpensive - but - with more homes like this there might actually be a future worth living for those who follow us. The 10-15,000 homes, factories, offices and government buildings constructed using these specs in Europe since 2000 are estimated to have saved billions in energy costs. If all new builds adopt Passive House design there would be a dramatic impact on the planets ecology and boon to energy conservation. SF seems the perfect testing ground for this type of conservation design with the City's commitment to clean energy, conservation and zero waste/landfill by 2020. Here are more pix of the home provide by CA Home + Design.
Passive House kitchen with dramatic SF views from 19th St. gazing across Eureka Valley and beyond.
Passive House kitchen with dramatic SF views from 19th St. gazing across Eureka Valley and beyond.
via 7x7SF