Creating A Passive House With Luxury In Mind

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The design for the modern home for sale overlooking the Ponus Ridge Land Trust in New Canaan, Conn., strikes a serene setting. On 1.74 acres, the sprawling residence measures about 4,000 square foot with four bedrooms – each with en-suite baths – and two terraces and a three car garage.

Yet despite its striking beauty and bountiful amenities what makes the residence unique is less noticeable to the untrained eye.

The home is the first-ever to be built in New Canaan to Passive House Standards, a rigid level of energy efficiency that uses upwards of 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than do traditional homes. It’s air-tight construction allows the entire residence to run on the same amount of power it takes to operate two hand-held hair dryers.

But rather than succumb to the usual soulless, boxy designs that accompany many energy efficient homes, the New Canaan structure marks one one of the first to be elevated to high-end luxury, employing a level of inventive elegance rarely seen in energy-saving designs.

“Passive Houses are more efficient than the average home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be luxurious,” says Salvatore Zarrella, founder of Fairfield County-based Construction Management Group (CMG) and the team behind the New Canaan home. The firm is building three Passive Houses in Connecticut and is at the forefront of the movement to elevate the energy-saving design aesthetic to luxury living. The company is also building a modern home with a glass enclosed herb garden in Stamford, Conn., that is that city’s first certified Passive House. It was voted by Cottage & Gardens magazine as one of the “Most Beautiful Listings of 2015”.

“We incorporate all of the basic tenets of Passive Design,” says Michael Block, a partner at CMG. The firm’s client base is quickly expanding as the trend of Passive Houses gains momentum, he says. “But we also recognize that many people still want a home that includes stunning architecture along with energy efficiency and that’s our approach.”

The Passive House concept was first developed in Germany about 20 years ago as a way to drastically reduce the cost of home heating by minimizing the amount of heat required. But they are more than just environmentally responsible. Passive Designs also save homeowners money.

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