Building Homes That Withstand The Cold04:35
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A Kindergarten in Estonia that was refurbished using passive house standards.  Energy-efficient, highly-insulated passive homes  have been widely embraced in Europe and are just now becoming popular in the U.S. (Tonu Mauring/Flickr)
A Kindergarten in Estonia that was refurbished using passive house standards. Energy-efficient, highly-insulated passive homes have been widely embraced in Europe and are just now becoming popular in the U.S. (Tonu Mauring/Flickr)

If you're trying to be more green, or rein in winter heating bills, you might cover your windows with plastic, or put a foam strip under doorways to keep out drafts. But a group of architects and designers are taking the concept a step further.  Instead of trying to improve existing houses, they're building new ultra energy-efficient homes that require almost no heating, even on a cold winter day.

Jordan Goldman is an engineer at Zero-Energy Design, a Boston firm that designs these so-called passive homes, which are super-insulated, airtight structures that cost next to nothing to heat.

This segment aired on November 29, 2010.

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