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Dan Ernst - Thaxton house - exterior south elevation

Passivhaus on a Budget

Feb 8, 2013 | Climate Zone 4A — Thaxton, Virginia

When the time came for Jason and Stephanie Specht to find a builder, they started out with high ideals. They wanted a builder who wouldn’t skimp on the quality of construction and who wouldn't charge an exorbitant fee.

Since this was their first time building, there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions: As clients, would they be able to customize plans? Select materials and finishes? Could they realize their budgetary goals? Did the builder have a good reputation? Would the house be energy efficient?

Most of all, they were looking for a builder they could trust.

Eric Thomas house south elevation

A Net-Zero-Energy House for $125 a Square Foot

Jan 7, 2013 | Seattle, Washington

By Eric Thomas
We were attracted to an empty south-facing lot, one of the last undeveloped parcels in our neighborhood. Were we naïve to think we could make our dream of an affordable green home a reality?

“Mom and Dad must have paid for that one,” one of our elderly neighbors told me when I met him for the first time.

PassivFarmHaus

Farmhouse Style Meets Passive House

Sep 21, 2012 | Climate Zone 4A: Steeles Tavern, Virginia

By Daniel Ernst
When my family made the decision to move to Virginia, we agreed that somehow, some way, we would find a home that could comfortably accommodate seven people, across three generations. On a working farm. On a budget. Winding our way through an economic downturn, it made sense to consolidate our resources, minimize our family footprint, and maximize our efficiency.

Although we looked for months for a possible house renovation project, the dollars and cents of the market pushed us toward purchasing a site for new construction.

Grocoff - 1 - after front

Mission Zero House: A Net-Zero Retrofit

Dec 14, 2011 | Ann Arbor, Michigan

There really is nothing more challenging that I can think of than taking a home in a historic district and taking it to net zero energy. But it sure helps to start with the right home.

Good bones
When I asked Matt Grocoff, “Why this house?,” the first words out of his mouth were, “Good bones!” Despite the home’s age, the foundation and structure were sound.

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