Wayne County is pushing for economic development initiatives with minimal ecological footprints. Two such projects in the works include building “passive houses” in the region, and …
Wayne County is pushing for economic development initiatives with minimal ecological footprints. Two such projects in the works include building “passive houses” in the region, and enacting “commercial property assessed clean energy” (C-PACE). If those terms sound foreign to you, we’ve compiled some fast facts to help you understand what they’re all about.
What is ‘passive house’?
Passive house is a design standard for optimizing energy efficiency in homes and other buildings. By essentially making buildings as airtight as possible, passive-house designs can reduce energy consumption from heating and cooling needs by up to 90 percent, according to Passive House Institute U.S.
How are they built?
All passive buildings share five essential construction principles:
Are passive homes more expensive?
Passive houses typically cost about 5 to 10 percent more than a standard house, but that difference has been falling as demand for these kinds of houses increases. Passive homeowners also spend far less on their heating and cooling bills than standard homeowners.
Do passive homes need to be a certain shape or size?
Anything from a small home to a skyscraper can be built using the passive-house design. Passive houses must meet a strict criteria and require a certified architect to build, but that doesn’t mean they all look the same.
Do people in passive houses have to live differently?
A common misunderstanding about passive houses is that residents cannot open windows or doors as freely as regular homeowners, but research has found that this isn’t accurate.
In passive houses, the temperature is the same in every room. Some consider this a con, especially as many prefer to keep bedrooms cooler for sleeping.
What is C-PACE?
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy defines C-PACE as a tool for financing renewable-energy upgrades or installations on commercial property through a long-term, low-interest loan.
Why would commercial property owners be interested?
The benefit to commercial property owners looking to improve their energy efficiency is two-fold. First, a C-PACE loan takes care of the upfront cost of a project. The loan is then paid back over a 20 to 25-year period. Over that time, property owners’ energy savings—as a result of the energy efficiency improvements—are greater than the additional yearly tax bill they pay to finance the C-PACE loan.
Who runs C-PACE?
C-PACE is not a federal program. Each state is responsible for authorizing its own C-PACE program through legislation (it has been authorized in both New York and Pennsylvania). Local governments are then responsible for carrying out C-PACE projects at a county-level.
Who is involved in a C-PACE deal?
There are usually five stakeholders involved: