Can building just one passive house stop pollution or global warming? Sadly, no. But if even a small percentage of the new homes and buildings constructed in the United States and elsewhere were built to passive house standards, the energy savings would be significant.
A study conducted in Germany in 2003 compared the energy consumption of passive houses with the energy consumption of both conventional and energy-efficient homes and found that passive houses had an average energy savings of 90 percent over conventional homes and up to 80 percent compared with homes built to Germany's stringent low-energy construction standards [source: Passivhaus Institut].
Passive houses still use electricity for things like lighting, electronics and appliances, and heating water, but most require no heating source at all aside from the sun and the incidental heat generated by the appliances and people inside the house. By using energy-efficient appliances and alternative energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines, many passive house owners can power their homes with little or no reliance on the electric company or other polluting sources of energy.