Ken Levenson and Floris Keverling Buisman founded 475 High Performance Building Supply in 2011 to help transform the way we design and build in North America: toward low-carbon, super-low-energy, safe, and natural construction guided by Passive House. In fact, our very name comes from the standard’s benchmark of 4.75 kiloBTU per square foot per year. Without changing focus from the Passive House movement's collective goals, Ken is changing his role within it. Last week, Bronwyn Barry, Board of Directors Chair for NAPHN (North American Passive House Network) announced the appointment of Ken Levenson as the non-profit group’s first Executive Director.
“In planning to grow NAPHN’s capacity, reach, and effectiveness, we are delighted to appoint Ken Levenson as our first Executive Director. His record as a professional with a long track record in the Passive House movement, combined with his exemplary commitment to NAPHN is unparalleled. It bodes well for the success of our community,” said Bronwyn.
Ken’s experience as an architect allowed for several major features of the company as it’s known today, including the Smart Enclosure guides, as explained by Ken himself in this video series. By making his mark in the development of the company, Ken will always play the part of 475 Co-founder, but steps away from being involved in day-to-day operations.
As CEO, Floris will keep the focus of the company rooted firmly in building science, sustainable material use, and Passive House standards. To protect the environment and make the world a better place, the construction industry needs advocates like our customers to advance towards a Passive House / net-zero future. We have always pushed the envelope, challenging outdated building codes and commonly held building science myths through sound, but innovative solutions. This allows our customers to use our materials to let their buildings perform better, with more comfort and less dependence on fossil fuels. With Ken at the helm of NAPHN we will continue to push to get to our common goal faster: To build like the future depends on it.
Leading NAPHN is a natural fit for Ken, who was a founding board member of New York Passive House (NYPH) and of the Passive House Alliance in 2010, followed by becoming a NAPHN founder in 2011. Much of Ken’s work for the past decade has been focused on promoting and expanding the acceptance of Passive House standards throughout North America.
Ken is drawn to positions where he can be an advocate for change. He has recently spent a significant amount of time volunteering with the global climate civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion, as well as leading the NAPHN 2020 conference as it shifted to go virtual at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Driven by the current wave of changes, Ken plans to build on this momentum to grow NAPHN educational programs and community-building activities.
“The conference ended up playing out not just during a pandemic but during the Black Lives Matter protests too, and both affected me deeply,” said Ken, “reinforcing the direct connections between climate crisis imperatives and what it means to deliver truly sustainable communities for all. In this context, I look forward to energizing NAPHN efforts, working with professionals, policymakers, and developers, to enhance our metrics of success.”
At 475, we’re proud to be a part of the global movement for change toward deeply sustainable shifts in the way we create the built environment around us. We’re proud of the work we’ve done together with Ken here for the last 9 years and look forward to the opportunities for change in the future as we partner with NAPHN to advance Passive House adoption and change the way we build.