November 19, 2015

475 On-Site: Net-Zero Upstate NY, Passive-esque House On A Budget

With Ben Freed of Prossimo and David White of Right Environments


Ben Freed is emblematic of the people who catch the Passive House bug. First, we see them try everything out on their own home. They work through the details, feel the difference, get sold on the concept, and want to spread the word. Ben went a step further and started his own company: Prossimo, LLC. We’re excited to present Ben’s unique and incredible story.

From the Prossimo website:

In 2012, Prossimo cofounder Ben Freed needed an affordable energy efficient house. Why? Because he and his wife couldn’t afford the massive, oil-sucking monstrosities that were on the market in his locale in upstate New York.

Then Ben caught a break. He got connected with Passive House legend/building science genius David White, principal at Right Environments. David took on Ben’s challenge to build an affordable, safe, comfortable and energy efficient home. Little did they know the challenges that lay ahead.

We won’t get into the nitty gritty here, but suffice to say, after a grueling, 2.5 year journey, Ben and his wife actually managed to build their home, with a bank loan, for around $170k. He designed it, drafted it and GC’ed it himself with no prior construction or architecture experience.

Of course, he couldn’t have done it without the tireless help of David White, who became a great mentor and friend to Ben throughout the project.

Ben and David’s Pro Clima recipe for a budget high performance home using post and beam framing:

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