March 6, 2015

This is my first time here…where do I start?

QuestionsAnsweredYou’ve just stumbled upon 475’s website. You know you want to build high performance / Passive House / low-energy and you don’t know where to even begin. Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

We often receive calls, emails, chats, etc. asking questions about what we offer, what sets our products apart from currently available materials, and where on earth to begin looking. Sometimes it’s broad – “I’m building a house – what products can I use?”  And sometimes it’s more specific – “I’m looking for alternatives to existing WRBs, and I heard about you through another building science blog – can you tell me about Solitex?”

Let this be a quick guide to navigating our site, knowing what to use and when, and where to find more information when you want to dig in deeper.

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Who or what is 475?    

So who are you anyway, and why 475?  Is that your street address?

Close, but not quite!  Our home is right in the heart of Brooklyn, NY at 334 Douglass St.  We recently moved, and will be having an opening party soon, so stay tuned!  (and for those of you on the west coast, while you might miss out on the opening, don’t worry, we deliver in 1-2 days from our warehouse in Portland, OR)

475 is a reference to 4.75kBTUs/ft^2/yr, the maximum heating demand of a building certified to the Passive House standard.  475 High Performance Building Supply – our company – exists to help supply essential knowledge and components for building High Performance and Passive House buildings.


What is Passive House?   

If we lost you already and you’re not quite sure what Passive House is, here’s your first link to get you started: What is Passive House?

Are people actually interested in constructing buildings that use 90% less energy provide better air quality and comfort for its occupants? In fact Passive House is catching on quite quickly in the US, but don’t take our word for it – check out, for example, what NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio’s Built to Last report has to say about it.


How to find what you’re looking for.

(or discover something you didn’t know you needed.)

Whether you’re looking for essential knowledge or the right components, you’ve come to the right place.

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For components (products), hover your mouse over “Products – Browse” in the top left corner of any page on our site, and you’ll see the following categories (and within them, more specific sub-categories to find the right product for the right need):



   1.  Airsealing systems by PRO CLIMA – PRO CLIMA is the leader in intelligent, high performance airtight systems.  Airtightness is the essential physical metric of the Passive House standard.  Read about the Pro Clima System – a comprehensive approach to air sealing and moisture control.

        Sub-categories include:

            Window tapes, exterior and interior tapes.  Confused about which tape to use?  Try our guide, “How to select the right tape“.  Or get started with our 60-second video intro to Tescon Vana – an all-around airsealing tape.

            Exterior membranes/housewraps/WRBs.  Start by learning about what sets Pro Clima membranes apart from the rest by learning about the Solitex Mento Difference.  Then check out Solitex Mento 1000, an airtight, watertight, windtight, vapor open WRB.

            Interior membranes with smart vapor control.  An interior air barrier does it better.  Start with the Intello Primer for an introduction.  Check out Intello Plus.

            Duct, pipe, and wire penetrations.  EPDM gaskets and butyl tapes to help with penetrations to your air barrier.  Check out Kaflex for wires and Roflex for pipes. For sealing around existing beams we recommend CONTEGA SOLIDO SL.

            Adhesives, primers, and special connections.  Caulks, primers, airtight installation boxes, fleece tapes, self-sealing adhesive tapes, etc.  Use Contega HF for an adhesive caulk for membrane to floor connections, Tescon Primer for adhering to uneven substrates, and be sure to consider a few Pressfixes for pressure activation of all of our adhesive tapes.


    2. Ventilation – As we make our buildings tighter and more energy efficient, ventilation becomes essential to high indoor air quality.  LUNOS through-wall decentralized heat recovery ventilation systems offer ventilation without ducting at up to 90.6% heat recovery, with incredibly low power consumption.  Check out the Lunos e2 Primer for an introduction to our most popular system.



    3. Daylight SystemsIt is incredibly difficult to find triple-glazed, thermal bridge free skylights in the US. That’s why we stock them. We distribute two manufactures of high performance skylights: LAMILUX for flat roof and FAKRO for pitched roof. Check out the Lamilux Primer for an introduction.


    4. Thermal Insulation – For an alternative to foam, try the sustainable continuous insulation alternative: waterproof, windtight, and vapor open wood fiberboard insulation from GUTEX. Read the GUTEX Primer.


    5. Quality Control – Download our free High WUFItrainingbanner1Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits ebook or construction details (wood frame, 2×6, double stud, i-joist outrigger, historic masonry). Purchase the essential Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software or designPH, a 3D Passive House modeling tool.  Learn about 475 events – seminars on high performance building – or schedule a Lunch & Learn for your architects office.

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For more knowledge resources, navigate to the center of your screen, where hovering over “knowledge resources” allows you to access Books from 475, free Construction Details (DWG files) available for download, a Newsletter Index for past newsletters from 475, a Video Index of all of our product and project videos, a Blog Index of all of our blog posts, and links to the Passive Passion documentary and Sites We Like.


Digging deeper.

You might find you have questions such as: “What kind of staples should I use for Intello?”, “How many Lunos units do I need?”, or “Do you have any examples of projects where your products are used?”

Once you find a product you’re interested in, click into the product page and you’ll find:

   Pricing (no tricks here, we’re transparent about our pricing – these are contractor prices and bulk pricing is built in)

   Reference Downloads (product specs, installation instructions, 3-part specs, etc.)

   Related Blogposts (featured projects, research results, etc.)

   Videos (install videos, product intro videos, project feature videos, etc.)

Discovering the blog.

There’s a link to the blog right in the center of the very top of your screen.  You’ll see a list of recent blog posts sorted by date, with the ability to navigate through the themes of the blog by clicking on “Categories”, to your right, or searching the blog using the search bar.  Please feel free to leave a comment on any of our blog posts – we’d love to follow and perhaps further contribute to the discussion. icons-08

To purchase, you can simply add items to your cart and go to your “shopping cart” to check out, or if you’re having trouble – call us from 9am to 6pm (eastern time).  Wondering how long it will take us to get products to you and where we ship?  Right here is where you’ll find answers to most of your shipping questions.

Try it Free

If you’d like to see some of our products in person, get a sample pack sent to you today.

Other information.

To easily find our Product Categories, Manufacturers, Knowledge Resources, or information About Us and our Customer Service, scroll down to the bottom of any page.  Or you can call us at 718.622.1600, or 800.995.6329 and we’d be happy to help you find what you’re looking for or help you with your next project.

Keep it tight!

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