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Unfortunately, our fledgling green movement has begun to take a decidedly corporate turn towards slick marketing, meaningless buzzwords, and an awful lot of misinformation and half truths, at best. But above the din, there are some very promising developments worth paying attention to. At the moment, the standouts for me are a few brave building products vendors who are offering the materials needed for building ultra-low energy and zero net energy new homes and retrofitted homes.

Advanced triple glazed casement window and door systems, ERV (energy recovery ventilation) systems, and insulation products, along with a lot of good research here in the States, (supplemented with a hefty amount from overseas) are all adding up to some exciting developments in the evolution of Passivehaus grade homes underway here in the USA. Leading the charge in the Northeast is… (if you can believe it) a huge Energy Utility Company: National Grid. The utility is funding several “Deep Energy Retrofit” (yup, DER!) pilot projects with rather robust cash rebate incentives (up to $42,000 for homes that can participate and comply) in an effort to prove concepts and collect data on how to continute to push the envelope (or seal the envelope, I suppose…) of greater efficiency and performance. Watch as we progress with our own DER project, and keep an eye on our website www.bostongreenbuilding.com for updates on this and a small Passivhaus townhomes developement in Cambridge. To learn more about Passivehaus, visit the US website at http://passivehouse.us/passiveHouse/PHIUSHome.html

-Brian Butler

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