Three blighted Weinberg Commons buildings located in southeast Washington, D.C., recently were transformed into the city's first "Passive Houses."

Passive House designs concentrate on energy-use reduction and incorporate energy-efficient materials to manage heat gain and loss, saving up to 90 percent of utility costs. The Department of Energy recognizes Passive House approaches as the most efficient means of achieving net-zero building operations.

For the Washington, D.C., project, an EPDM roof membrane, donated by Carlisle SynTec Systems, Carlisle, Pa., a founding member of the EPDM Roofing Association, and polyisocyanurate rigid foam insulation, donated by Carlisle Construction Materials, Carlisle, and Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association members Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, and Hunter Panels, Portland, Maine, were selected for the roof systems.