This Home Uses Less Energy Than a Hair Dryer in the Dead of Winter

By: | November 21st, 2014

To say winters are cold in Wisconsin is like saying Jack Nicholson got a little chilly in The Shining. Wisconsin winters are beyond cold and for long stretches of time.

But living in a German certified passive house, Wisconsin entrepreneur Sonya Newenhouse is handling the onset of winter without a hitch.

Her 970 square-foot home stays warm throughout the harsh winter with the help of a small 1300-watt electric heating system for the rare times it’s needed … using less energy than running a typical hair dryer.

Newenhouse‘s home maintains temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit throughout winters despite exterior temperature going down well below zero.

Certified by the German Passivhaus Institute, the success of this passive house is due to a number of features, including walls about 18 inches thick, air tight insulation,  triple-paned windows and doors that utilize natural light and keep cold air out.

Approximately 80 to 90% more efficient than the standard home, this exceptionally well-designed passive house has a number of other green features. The house is built and furnished using mostly recycled materials, has rooftop solar array and a food-producing garden.

The estimated total annual electric demand for all three occupants of Newenhouse is just 6,119 kWh.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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