I’ve been following the JLC articles on super-insulated homes; one consistent thread seems to be the extraordinary labor hours required for all the details, especially air-sealing. The latest by Christian Corson (“An Affordable Passive House,” 5/12, 6/12) was no exception. Although I like the Passive House concept, some of the requirements seem to offer little payback in the U.S., where natural gas costs a fraction of its cost in Europe. In Michigan, I can install a high-efficiency gas forced-air system for the same cost as this house’s hvac system (that’s one expensive ERV system!), and I don’t see the savings from all the extra insulation.

Could the author compare this to a conventional project and comment on his profit margin? On the question of affordability, a breakdown of the $210,000 construction cost would be helpful. What’s included? Obviously not the land, and I don’t see a garage. Is the entire first floor a concrete slab? Are the kitchen and baths complete? Is there a...

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