Published on April 1st, 2013 | by Publisher, Natural Awakenings New Mexico


Passive House Energy-Conserving Technology

Vahid Mojarrab, a New Mexico architect based in Santa Fe, will be returning to WAMO Studio, LLC, his independent practice, following the dissolution of MOSA in January of 2013.

Vahid Mojarrab has a philosophy centered on two essential architectural ideas: To address the issues of natural energy source decline and the increasing cost of energy while creating beautiful and elegant designs. With the VOLKsHouse, completed by Mojarrab Stanford architects, Mojarrab demonstrated his commitment to low-carbon and net-zero energy consumption projects. It is his core belief that building sustainably does not have to mean building expensively. WAMO Studio is developing high performance, streamlined and efficient buildings at no cost premium, achieving a level of financial, social and environmental sustainability.

VOLKsHouse is a response to America’s overuse of energy resources and the typically higher cost of green construction. Based on energy-conserving Passive House technology, it was built to prove that eco-construction can be fully cost-competitive with traditional construction and to pioneer healthy and affordable green housing. This house is the first certified Passive House on the New Mexico market using 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling, with costs compatible to conventional building and designed to give power back to the grid. Energy performance is monitored daily and financial records will be audited to verify savings. The simple, yet profound, concept that it is cheaper to conserve energy than to generate it is fundamental to the Passive House approach. Its affordability provides the critical tipping point toward mainstream accessibility that the Passive House approach is now experiencing.

Mojarrab’s second Passive House, the Grier residence, will be in Santa Fe and is a cutting-edge, environmentally-conscious design that shows how construction methods constantly evolve in order to counter challenges of both energy efficiency and social responsibility. Groundbreaking is anticipated in early summer. This all-electric, net-zero energy home reaches beyond just net-zero energy consumption.

The high standards proposed for this home will pay for themselves from the outset, as there are immediate and considerable savings of energy costs. This home also proposes forward-thinking water harvesting methods. The proposal uses a passive way of conserving and re-using water, the Southwest’s most valuable resource. The multiple, small water retention areas benefit existing and new landscaping. This method mimics nature’s way of using rainfall, ensures the long term functionality of the system design, and reduces the eyesore of big ponds or barrels.

Mojarrab is also venturing into Passive House Certified affordable modular housing with a multi-family project in 2013. These electric, net-zero homes with an emphasis on indoor air quality will be 800 to 1000 square feet.

A one-acre development in central Santa Fe is being designed to house a new business incubator. This project will also be energy efficient and provide affordable work space for new and growing small businesses in Santa Fe.


For more information on Passive Houses and WAMO Studio’s future projects, call 505-412-1242 or visit



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