Addressing barriers to passive house construction in New Orleans
The research in this paper takes an opportunity to examine the feasibility of developing properties in New Orleans, Louisiana which conform to the Passive House Standard. To date, New Orleans has yet to see a single building built to the energy-efficiency standard. This report begins by describing the concept, the history, and benefits of the Passive House Standard. The report uses the same certification definition of Passive House as Passive House International Standard (PHI). By framing the need for Passive House buildings in light of mounting global and regional consequences resulting from anthropogenic climate change, the report argues that Passive House is the best solution to turning the New Orleans built environment into a carbon-neutral zone and achieving many of the energy reduction commitments made by the Landrieu administration under the Climate Action Strategy for a Resilient New Orleans. The report then examines the feasibility of Passive House from a single-family perspective in one of New Orleans’ hottest neighborhoods, “The Irish Channel” and then overlays the barriers which are specifically hindering the investment logic of Passive House in New Orleans. It is shown that the barriers ultimately align to limit the financial attractiveness of Passive House investment to debt and equity investors as well as developers. Additionally, complications relating to the design, development and construction of Passive House structures are also identified as barriers unique to New Orleans. The final section of this analysis specifically considers how to overcome market barriers by applying opportunistic solutions which are unique to the New Orleans real estate development market.