Former Shore Acres resident Veronique LeBlanc was tired of her home's mood swings; the 1960's colonial house facing the Long Island Sound was too hot in the summer and frigid in the winter.
LeBlanc—a green building specialist who now lives in Hong Kong—wanted to renovate her home, which had been maintained poorly by previous owners, and cut down on her increasingly high energy bills. She became intrigued by a concept called Passive House, an energy efficiency standard that is engineered in such a way as to dramatically reduce energy for heating and cooling. The standard began in Germany and Scandinavia, and is slowly starting to migrate to the U.S., with homes in California, Oregon and in the Hudson Valley in New York.
But it was five years before she found a team that could see her vision. In April of 2012, she began working with an architect, Andreas Benzing, and the Long Island-based, family-owned North Shore Construction Services.
LeBlanc describes her design as, "a modern classic with an Asian feel." The $1 million renovation is scheduled to be completed in 2014, she said.
David Taormina, president of North Shore Construction, compared a passive house to a "thermos" that evenly balances temperature on all levels and surfaces.
"This is not some pie-in-the-sky, tree-hugger idea," he said, pointing out features like tempered glass designed to resist winds of up to 120 mph; tightly sealed, triple-pane glass and green insulation made of cellulose.
But, for now, LeBlanc is eagerly awaiting the day her home will be complete.
"It's my dream house," she said.
The Mamaroneck Passive House is located on 505 Alda Rd. in Mamaroneck. It will be open to the public Friday, March 22-23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours are available.