Highly Efficient ‘Passive Homes’ Gain Ground In US


Going passive isn’t solely the realm of new construction, either.

In McKeesport, outside Pittsburgh, a historic YMCA is being turned into a multi-unit passive building to house people at risk for homelessness. In New York City last year, Julie Torres Moskovitz’s firm Fabrica 718 retrofitted a 110-year-old Brooklyn brownstone into the city’s first certified passive house.

“There’s a whole movement,” said Torres Moskovitz, author of the new “The Greenest Home” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013) on super-insulated and passive house design. “It’s a hotbed in Brooklyn of doing
these retrofits.”

McDonald’s firm, Onion Flats, first tackled a three-home, low-income housing development completed last fall – Pennsylvania’s first to be certified under guidelines set by the International Passive House Institute, based in Germany.

The stylish, 1,900-square-foot Bellfield Homes in north Philadelphia have a heating and cooling system one-eighth the size of what similar traditionally built homes require because they were built with an “airtight, super-insulated thermal envelope” that helps reduce energy use by 90 percent, McDonald said.

“Some passive houses are complex, but we took on the idea that we could do it … with everyday construction,” he said.

Onion Flats’ next effort is The Stables development, with three of 27 luxury townhouses completed and passive house certification pending. Up next will be Ridge Flats, with shops and 130 apartments that McDonald’s firm wants to make the nation’s first passive-certified mixed-use project of its size.

<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>

Posted by on Jul 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed