Bleu Nest Blog

You are what you build.

Calculating Your Weekend

passive house builder  

Dear Weekend,

I’m tired of average.

Can you inject some awesome into my typical two day stint of Bordeaux-Chocolate-‘Breaking Bad’-binging/shuffle kids to soccer/too lazy to peel myself off the couch Saturday and Sunday?  Come Sunday evening,  I have nothing to show for myself.  It all adds up to zilch.

Yours Truly,


Dear Freaky Friend who writes to “Their Weekend”,

Yes.  I can do that.

Punch 105 West Oak Street, Ramsey, NJ into Waze and wave goodbye to the same ole’, same ole’ because you will be carried off to New Jersey’s First Passive House.

It is opening it’s doors Saturday, 11/14 from 2pm-5pm and Sunday 11/15 from 10am-12pm and it’s jam-packed with awesome and I promise it will make your 48 hours add up to at least 0.29 ACHn50.

Your Weekend

P.S. I just got an angry text from ‘Bordeaux’ and ‘Chocolate’.  They DO NOT want to be ignored, emoji-bloody knife.  Just sayin’…



Superman is not a dead-beat.  And Elon Musk did not wake up and decide to build a ‘so-so’ sports car.


These guys don’t settle for average.  And neither do you. That’s the way you’re built. 


Then let me ask you this: Doesn’t it make sense that that’s the way your home should be built too?

Because settling for an average ‘code-built’ constructed home (ginormous yawn), is like hopelessly giving up on life (Karen Carpenter tune fades in) and quietly slipping into a pair of MOM JEANS (that’s right),  living out your days sloppily in pathetic, generic, uncreative swaths of denim fabric that are not tight in the right places.

And when you put them on? You feel a lot more like Bea Arthur not Beyonce.

Sure they get the job done.  They cover your a**.  But so does a hefty garbage bag.


But this isn’t about survival.   It’s about arrival. (Pump the ‘house’ music.)


Arrival to a place THAT MAKES AVERAGE CRY. That doesn’t do ‘dime a dozen.’

That’s a master of mucking up mediocrity. That busts through its boringness to serve up excellence with top-notch as the cherry.

And this place? Is your home.

Not just any stock, run-of-the-mill, generically built home. But a home that’s built to live and die by superhuman standards. Every bit of it based on and backed up by hardcore science.

The masterful piece de resistance: A Passive House.

A passive house is a home that fits you perfectly and makes you look and feel as fierce and flawless as Beyonce on her best day in her best skin tight jeggings  (I’m talking to you too gentlemen.)

It ain’t all about how you look, because trust me, their jaws will drop, but also about how it makes you feel.

A passive house hugs you in all the right spots. With California-like temperatures throughout every room – 365, 24/7 (without wrestling with the zipper thermostat), air so sweet and fresh, and a sexy 90% reduction in heating and cooling energy use and costs, what’s not to love?

So, when it’s your turn to build or design a house:




Because when you settle for average?   You give the status quo permission to make your tomorrow a knockoff of today.


And you’re not here to be average.   You’re here to be AWESOME.


Just recently, I had the privilege to pow-wow with some guys who are here to do just that.

They make it their job to take average and put it in a time-out. FOREVER.

You want to know what comes between these guys and Passive House? Nothing.

That’s why I’m  honored and proud to have the chance to sit down and chat with them on their outstanding blogs and podcasts. And you’re invited to this house party. So what are your waiting for?


Get down and boogie with the links below and watch these guys shake their passive house booty.   


Elrond Burrell


Elrond Burrell invited me to be a guest on his blog, PASSIVHAUS IN PLAIN ENGLISH & MORE where we discuss: Not Your Average Builder: A Passive House Builder 



Ben Adam-Smith

Ben Adam Smith and I chat about Should Your Architect, Builder, and Tradespeople Have Certified Passive House Training? over on his blog and podcast, House Planning Help.




ken levenson, architect

Ken Levenson and the team at 475 High Performance Building Supply came to our site in Ramsey, NJ, home to New Jersey’s First Internationally Certified Passive House, and shot a video tour of the project. Grab some munchies and stay until the end of the tour for some bonus out-takes;)





This is personal.


Me.  5 years old. On a bus. Alone (true story, folks.)


I willingly packed my bags and headed to an uncertain future filled with the one thing I wanted.  


Independence and a better way.


A better way to fill up one thousand three hundred and forty-four hours of my time, also known as…my summer. Yup.  I did it the only way my precocious half decade old self knew how.  8 weeks at sleep away summer camp. Camp Greylock bound.  I wanted out of that small New Jersey town and those humdrum lazy days in suburbia.  I left behind my dear parents and my dear Fluffy (dog extraordinaire) and set my sights on ‘better’ ….


Strap yourself in. We are zooming towards the here and wow.


Today, independence still incessantly screams my name and a better way to live has wildly captured me. This ‘better way’ saddles up on independence and ‘rethinking’ and flips the bird at  the lame excuse of ‘that’s the way it’s always been done.’ It’s backed by fierce knowledge and wrapped up with a radically sensible, elegantly thoughtful, bow.


It’s called Home. Not just any home, but a High Performance Passive Home.


These homes have ridiculously excited me for the past 5 years.  So much that I’m building one right now for my family. (Well, not right now, you guys. I’m writing this on a Saturday. I’m on a lounge chair in the middle of who the hell cares. The sun is shining and I’m lounging, people.)


However, THIS COMING SATURDAY, MAY 2,  instead of lounging, I’ll be proudly flaunting my new independence in the form of (cue the lights and the groupees):


A Tour of NJ’s First Passive House



New Jersey's First Certified Passive House Tour

You’re invited.  And  I would be giddy with glee for you to stop by in all your awesome-ness.    Get chummy with NJ’s First Passive House (and a builder, that’s me, plus an architect, that’s James at River Architects, ) that’s bursting with sexy, sustainable, smart building practices and ideas.  You’ll be surrounded by forward thinking people, like yourself, who want to get down and dirty with the details on how  to declare victory over an energy-sucking bully of a house.


So when Saturday rolls around, forget the NYT, put down that double skim latte (or bring it with) and come mingle with the future.


Type 105 West Oak Street, Ramsey, N.J. into your GPS. Mosey on over (because on Saturdays you ‘mosey’), and mix up a reflective cocktail. Tell us what you think.


It’s for anyone who wants to raise a red, white and Bleu flag (you knew that was coming, right?) in the name of a new independence.  


An independence from…


  • A house that has only  2 temperatures:  Crank the heat and Crank the A.C.

  • A carbon footprint that leaves our collective home we call THE PLANET a stinkin’ dirty mess.

  • PSEG, CON-ED, and all other energy bill delivery men who have their  hand both their hands out EVERY MONTH collecting buckets of your hard earned cash.

  • making mukluks mandatory footwear in your home for fear of your toes becoming anesthetized from floor drafts

    Summer camp did bring me a better summer (maybe the s’mores had something to do with it.) But Passive House? Is gifting me a better home.  And you know that a home isn’t just a house.  It’s the backdrop for all those brilliantly beautiful moments you call?  Life.  It better represent.


    In the name of better, let’s make a ruckus this weekend.  Join us. I would be thrilled to see you there. Here are the deets:


Ramsey Passive House Tour with a blower door test FINALE @ 2PM

Saturday, May 2

105 West Oak Street

Ramsey, NJ 07446

Pop in anytime between 11am-3pm.

(sorry, no kiddies, it’s a construction site and we wouldn’t want junior getting hurt)  


Will I see your marvelous mug this Saturday? Have you recently took steps towards new independence? Re-think something? How did it turn out? Hustle on over here , then scroll down and leave a comment because your opinion (and high-five;) is golden.


FYI: Registration is not required but helpful:)





We are arming our house with a bodyguard.  

He looks menacing, swathed in black, plastered in tattoos all exclaiming his name.

His job?  To protect and guarantee that the uninvited will not violate the velvet rope.  

Meet…Mr. Mento. 

Yup, that’s him.

(No, not the guy on the ladder. Or the dude on the roof.)

It’s the stuff stapled to our house.

Mr. Mento was hired for his beefy-ness and brawn. He vows to flex his muscles and protect said house from whatever the weather brings. (That includes polar vortex’s, arctic blasts and all other climate buzzwords flung around on the five o’clock news.)

Here’s the deal…

One of the key ingredients to a Passive House is airtight construction. 

Mento, AKA the ‘WRB’ (Weather Resistant Barrier) is on the ‘Airtight Team.’  It’s a barrier that keeps out rain and wind (air flow), yet it’s permeable enough so that any moisture that finds its way into the building enclosure can evaporate and escape to the exterior.

SO, if you are a raindrop, draft or God forbid…a snowflake.


Go down the block.

You’ll find plenty of houses that will welcome you.


How do you know your Passive House is from New Jersey?

When it tells your energy bill:


This New Jersey Passive House is setting out to do just that. 


Bleu Nest, along with River Architects, is bringing this energy efficient marvel to life.


Because Passive House is not only a better way to build, but it saves you buckets of money, delivers mounds of comfort, and brings energy consumption?  


(Check out some more reasons why here.)

This will be New Jersey’s First Internationally Certified Passive House.

Walls went up in the summer of 2014 and is due to be completed sometime in the summer of 2015. 

Darren Macri, Passive House Builder


Get better building advice that will make you SMART and cause you to re-think how homes should be built.


It will make you smart and cause you to re-think how a home should be built.



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