Sustainability In A Million Small Steps: Real Estate Included

It's not clear if human civilization (or any civilization for that matter) can be made sustainable. But if it is possible then the work is bound to embrace the high and the low and everything in-between.

Here is a link to a nice piece in the New York Times Real Estate section on the introduction of so-called 'Zero-Energy Construction" methods in the U.S. These ideas have already become prominent elsewhere, like in Europe. In particular the article highlights the German Passivhaus Institut's passive energy system building and design methods.

The article includes an interview with Ken Levenson an architect and president of NY Passive House:

"Passivhaus's energy-use standards are more stringent than those of the U.S. Green Building Council, which issues certifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED; or the federal government's Energy Star for Homes program, Mr. Levenson said."

"An Energy Star home might save 15 to 20 percent energy on heating, while under LEED, "it would be considered to be superb if you had 30 percent," he said."

"'So the Passivhaus standards,' Mr. Levenson said, 'where you're talking up to 90 percent reduction in heating and cooling really changes the whole paradigm.'"

So many paradigms to change, so little time.