92 Front St.
Hempstead, NY 11550
APPLICATIONS: Homes and apartments, high-performance buildings, and construction projects in extreme climates
COMPOSITION: Wood and an aluminum frame, with a choice of oak, mahogany, pine, beech, larch, Canadian maple, and alder for the inside
PROPERTIES: Super-efficient heat, cold, and sound insulation, available in a wide range of wood finishes and custom colors
It’s no secret that the United States lags far behind Europe in green-building technologies. Nowhere is this more evident than in the construction of passive houses. These structures use a variety of fairly simple strategies (proper orientation, high-performance windows, heat captured from the sun as well as from the people and equipment inside) to cut energy use by as much as 90 percent. In Europe there are roughly 25,000 certified passive houses, more than 15,000 of them built in the last ten years. The Passive House Institute U.S. estimates that there are only about 20 such buildings in this country.
The passive house is virtually airtight—so doors, of course, become a critical component. The Austrian manufacturer Topic has developed a passive-house door that combines features common to the rest of its line (300 custom colors, 50 wood finishes, keyless entry, even fingerprint access) with energy-saving insulation, created in-house, that surpasses just about anything on the market. “Although they were developed for passive houses, these doors can be used for all kinds of buildings,” says Aidar Shabaev, of Bella Porta, the exclusive North American distributor for Topic. “It’s really about getting high performance, about ‘doing the right thing’ without sacrificing style.” Consider it, then, the Mercedes-Benz of doors—or, more accurately, the tricked-out Prius.