In the past few decades sustainable building practices have come a long way. Many designers are striving to use the latest technologies to create more environmentally friendly conscience structures. Some of the best examples of sustainable buildings are considered Passive Houses. Germany is at the forefront of this trend, having been researching and developing specific environmental design principles since the early 1990s. These principles surpass LEED™ certifications and are overall less expensive. Energy consumption of a Passive House is between five to ten times lower than an average (LEED™) building, decreasing the environmental footprint two to five times.
These houses are designed with many modifications. Exterior walls tend to be two to three times thicker when compared to conventional home. Natural and controlled ventilation systems are also prominent, helping to keep temperature balanced throughout the entire building. All these modifications make Passive Houses almost completely airtight and soundproof. Many of these houses are designed to include a green roof or solar powered system.
In 2010, there were over 25,000 Passive Houses in Germany and around 13 in the United States. In Urbana, Illinois, the first Passive house was erected in America, back in 2003.
By Samantha Yurek — More about Passive Houses and Green Roofs: use the search.
Info Wikipedia: The Passivhaus standard originated from a conversation in May 1988 between Bo Adamson of Lund University, Sweden, and Wolfgang Feist of the Institut für Wohnen und Umwelt (Institute for Housing and the Environment, Darmstadt, Germany). Later, their concept was further developed through a number of research projects, aided by financial assistance from the German state of Hessen.