Think of a large Thermos, large enough to put a family in. That’s a passive house. Passive houses are buildings that rely on their construction, insulation, and the environment to heat them in winter and cool them in summer.
They’re popular in Europe, but there are only a handful of them in the U.S. and one of them belongs to a family in upstate New York, who are getting ready to take on their first winter in their passive home.
Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin are taking part in a six-week energy reduction challenge, developed by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and NYSERDA.
Energy Challenge Coordinator Samuel Gordon says the idea is to reduce wasted energy.
"It's really not about competing against one another to reduce energy consumption," Gordon said. "We're really competing against ourselves, because about 30 percent of the energy that we use in our homes is wasted."
According to estimates from the state’s Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), about 40 percent of electricity in the U.S. is consumed by office buildings. One upstate company, OLEDWorks, is developing technology that could help to lower this consumption.
The company’s developing organic LED technology, or OLEDs, as a more efficient alternative for lighting the nation’s office spaces.
This week on Take Care, Martin Mittelmark, CEO of Phytofilter Technologies in Saratoga Springs, talks about a new developing technology that uses plants to remove germs, pollen, mold and cancer-causing chemicals from the air.
Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Martin Mittelmark.
The walls around Pat Dundon's desk are slowly filling up with white printouts. Some have the letterhead of the state's energy research organization NYSERDA, and others are lists he's created. His involvement in a program called Green Jobs Green New York has produced all this paperwork. Through the program, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades.