peakbagger, I too accept the concept of the passive haus and at the same time realize that most of the media-hyped passive haus' are high end, out of financial reach of most people. But we all know it is not hard or particularly expensive to build a highly energy efficient home, even if it cannot be heated by a hair dryer. Besides, one passive haus in one location is not the same as a passive haus' in another location: local climate is important. The extra cost to build not being worth the cost, though, is not an easy conclusion. What we have now for homes, and have had in the lifetimes of most of us, is the benefit of "cheap" energy which allows us to waste energy rather than conserve it; plus, we have advances in technology that allow in new construction approaching and and even achieving the passive haus. "Cheap" energy though has a very large cost in today's world which we are not paying; instead we are taking out a loan from nature that we will not be able to pay back. If we paid the true and real cost of energy, all of us would do much, much more to conserve energy, and then the passive haus would be within reach. I also think we have got to let go of the concept of payback. It is artificial and meaningless in the natural world. It's only meaning is in the superstructure that humans have built on the natural world foundation of balance and sustainability to advance the human concept of profit and wealth. That foundation cannot support anything for long that does not take great care to maintain the balance and sustainability of its foundation. The facts now clearly show that the balance and sustainability of the natural world that has been around for a very, very long time is in major jeopardy.