A feature in American newspaper USA Today on a super-insulated house being built in Bethesda, Maryland, notes that it will meet strict passive house standards.
Author Wendy Koch says passive houses are "popular in Europe but just starting to catch on in the United States. The standard calls for homes to use up to 90 percent less energy than other new homes."
Koch points out that heating your house by throwing a dinner party may sound bizarre, but says "it's feasible in cutting-edge green homes that are so well-insulated, they don't need a furnace or boiler. They'll stay warm simply with body heat. A hairdryer might also suffice."
See a long piece on passive houses in the US, at http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/02/passive-houses-aggressively-reduce-energy/1
PIC: A "passiv haus" in Germany, where the technology is popular.