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  • Writer's pictureArt of Construction

AOC Show 244: Don't Sell Passive House

Johnny Rezvani, Director of Communications at 475 High Performance Building Supply, joins us for episode 244 of Art of Construction.

475 High Performance Building Supply was founded by Ken Levenson and Floris Keverling Buisman in 2011. Their goal was to do passive house retrofits in New York, however, the U.S. didn't have the materials to execute their goal. Passive house is common practice in Europe, but not nearly as popular yet in the American market. Noticing this gap in the construction industry, Levenson and Keverling began experimenting with different high performance materials and building techniques to make the American passive house a reality. Fun fact: the number 475 originates from the standard’s benchmark of 4.75 kiloBTU per square foot per year.

Johnny explains that establishing an educational component to their business was crucial to bring a foreign building standard to American markets. The main challenge is to sell passive house without selling passive house. 475 understands that most people reject a sales proposition that includes a lot of words they don't know, and that trying to present data and numbers is not always an effective way to engage with a consumer who makes decisions based on emotion.

The company instead boils down the passive house proposition and presents it in a way that people can relate to. Rather than delving too deep into complex science and terminology, they focus on the fact that building passive optimizes a home for comfort, energy efficiency, and resilience. In this way, 475 gives the contractors and affiliates who buy their products the tools to win over homeowners on passive house without getting bogged down in the details.

Join Devon and Johnny as they discuss the science of passive house and the most modern methods of building high performance homes, how to translate building science jargon into a language any American consumer can understand, and the exciting way the construction industry is evolving and moving forward to provide us with buildings that are more comfortable and healthy than ever before.


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