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Just a House That Uses 90 Percent Less Energy Than Yours, That's All

By Amelia Hennighausen - 2014-08-13T11:52:16Z

Photograph by Jesse Winter

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Active City, Passive House

From the tallest skyscraper to the humblest suburban abode, the buildings that we live and work in draw about 70 percent of the nation’s annual electricity. They burn more than a quarter of the natural gas the U.S. consumes every year.

They eat all that energy for a simple reason: They were designed to. But that needn’t be the case in the future.

Enter the “passive house,” a kind of super-efficient building that’s highly insulated, heated mostly by the sun and sealed air-tight. It is, in other words, an energy trap.

New York has a new one. The white-and-gray number, visible in the photo’s bottom-center, is dwarfed here by New York, a high-energy city in more ways than one.

Click ahead for an exclusive look at what the owner calls Queen’s first “Climate Change Row House.” 

More Sustainability news here.