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Salt Lake City Builds First Energy-Efficient "Passive" House


The Salt Lake City Housing and Neighborhood Development Division will be opening up a series of energy-efficient, affordable single-family homes throughout the valley. 

Salt Lake City officials introduced a new program called the Housing Innovation Lab and debuted the first passive house constructed within Salt Lake City. Beauen Pond is the Housing Project Manager for this house on Emery Street in the Poplar Grove Neighborhood. He says there are several benefits to houses like these that qualify as passive.

“It’s like an energy star house on steroids, extremely energy efficient" he says. "Cost of living expenses, utilities, and stuff like that will be very minimal.”

The Emery Passive House looks normal on the outside and the inside. It’s the systems working within the house that make it special. There’s no furnace, water-heater, or air conditioner. Instead, the house is airtight to keep hot or cold air out, warmed by the sun, and built with special insulation and windows.

Mike Akerlow is the Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development for Salt Lake City. He says this home is just the beginning of a new housing movement.

“We hope it becomes the way that everybody looks at affordable housing and development" he says. "We want not only the private community but also our nonprofit organizations who build affordable housing to raise their level of construction. We can do this. This home shows that energy efficiency can be a part of any affordable home that is built.”

Akerlow says the Housing Innovation Lab will continue to experiment with affordable housing for the public. And the homes the lab build will be up for sale through the city.

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