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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Sustainable Building: Two Projects, Two Methods: The joy in our work comes from the creativity involved in the design, detail and craftsmanship of the final product, and from customer satisfaction.

Lou Levy’s recent PHIUS House

Lou Levy has been a master carpenter, general contractor and builder for 46 years, 27 of which have been devoted to natural and sustainable building. That means he was ahead of his time using nontoxic, eco-friendly, energy-efficient approaches to alteration, addition and new construction projects.

His company just completed construction of a Passive House, a highly energy-efficient home meeting certified design parameters as specified by the Passive House Institute of the United States. The design features an airtight shell with super insulation, triple-glazed windows, proper ventilation, all nontoxic applications and no internal combustion—that is, no furnaces or gas or wood stoves and fireplaces.

The basic parameters of the design concentrate on energy usage, Levy says. A Passive House can use no more than 4.75 kilowatts of electricity per year, and it must be airtight, with no more than 0.6 cubic feet of air lost or gained per hour.

“Although the Passive House design is more suitable for a new house or a whole-house alteration, it can be formatted for an addition as well,” he says.

For another recent project, Levy worked with the owner-architect on the performance design of a Passive Solar and Natural House. This type of design incorporates a thermal mass that captures and holds radiant heat from the sun and then releases the heat throughout the interior of the home or addition. It can also tap into the ambient temperature of the surrounding earth, which is 52 degrees at three and a half feet below grade.

“The design enables the house to heat and ventilate naturally through a breathing wall and shell design,” Levy says. “It also allows the use of an airtight wood or masonry stove or other forms of internal combustion.”

Lou Levy Construction works on projects throughout Westchester, Western Fairfield, Putnam and Southern Dutchess Counties. Levy begins every project with an initial consultation and design review. From there he proceeds with a budget estimate and starts designing the project in collaboration with an architect he has selected for that specific project.

Levy says he and his design teams and crew enjoy all facets of sustainable building. “The joy in our work comes from the creativity involved in the design, detail and craftsmanship of the final product, and from customer satisfaction,” he explains.

To contact Lou Levy, call 914.804.2120 or visit