First Passive House certified in Colorado (photos)

First Passive House certified in Colorado (photos)

The first Passive House in Colorado is expected to deliver utility costs of less than $80 per month thanks to a super tight building envelope.

Builder Brookfield Residential offers the super energy-efficient home near 68th Avenue and Pecos Street in Englewood.

The home is one of about 60 homes in the U.S. that have received official ‘Passive House’ certification; and the Brookfield Residential model is the first one in Colorado, as designated by the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS). It is believed that the Brookfield Residential Passive House is also the first in the nation by a production homebuilder.

“It has taken Colorado a long time to reach this milestone, because constructing a building that can actually meet the strict requirements of the Passive House standard and pass the rigorous review of PHIUS is a difficult task,” said Lance Wright, president of the Colorado chapter of the Passive House Alliance U.S., a public outreach arm of PHIUS. “Just consider that our Colorado chapter of PHAUS is over two years old and, while we have several custom home projects under construction, Brookfield managed to complete its project first.”

See more photos of Energy Star homes from Brookfield Residential

A Certified Passive House must meet three strict standards of performance in terms of air-exchange (two-way, inside-to-outside), energy usage (basic electricity) and Btu consumption (typically applying to heating and cooling). The air exchange cannot exceed .6 of every room per hour; the energy usage cannot exceed 11.1 kilowatts per square foot annually; and the Btu's cannot exceed 4,750 per square foot annually.

“When we embarked upon this project, we saw it as an opportunity to experiment in technologies that will improve production homes’ comfort, efficiency and durability,” said Brookfield Residential General Manager Perry Cadman. “We’re committed to a vision that we call ‘Home Evolved,’ which includes an evolution of residential housing, with an unwavering search for changes that will result in improvements and, ultimately, perfection in residential building.”

The Brookfield Residential Passive House achieved its energy efficiency via creative design of its outer walls, a tight thermal envelope that employs the latest scientific insulation techniques, the highest-performing windows, and the most modern HVAC system.

Overall it cost an additional $90,000 for insulation, high-performance windows, HVAC, solar and other products to reach the Passive House standard compared to a code-built home, Cadman noted.

The solar shingles included on the Passive House do not affect the Passive House rating. However, they do enable the Brookfield Residential structure to attain an official Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 27.

However, Brookfield Residential General Manager Perry Cadman projected that this Passive House would achieve a HERS score of 20 if the HERS software were structured to consider the innovative outside wall structure and the interior LED lighting.

Green Home information:
Architect/type KGA Studio Architects/Contemporary

Advanced framing

  • Exterior wall widths 11 inches, including 2x6 exterior, a 2-inch gap, and a 2x4 interior framed wall. Exterior wall structure Studs “off-set” from wall to wall, with “balloon” framing (full length studs) 

Thermal envelope

  • Continuous foam board from top of foundation footing to bottom of roof truss tails, around entire house
  • Basement slab insulation 4 inches, Dow Styrofoam® Brand R-20 foam
  • Basement wall insulation Total R-value, approximately 47.5
  • Above-grade wall insulation Total R-value, approximately 51
  • Attic insulation Total R-value of 84
  • Insulation extra cost $11,000
  • SIGA tapes to seal house
  • Tyvek Drain wrap weather barrier and tapes
  • Dow Styrofoam® board insulation products
  • Bayer closed-cell, sprayed-in foam insulation
  • 10-mil poly under concrete slabs
  • Green Fiber INS 735 Cocoon 2 Cellulose
  • Owens Corning Pro Pink L77 fiberglass insulation
  • Hardie Building Products exterior fiber cement siding and soffit boards
  • Collins TruWood choice trim boards


  • Water-to-air, tankless water heater (for heating and hot water)
  • Solar system 1.2 kilowatts, Dow Solar Shingles


  • Alpen High Performance products 9H and L series windows, average U-factor of .15
  • Windows extra cost about $19,000

Read more about Home Designs and Plans.

Photos courtesy of Brookfield Residential.

Topics: Certification / LEED, Exteriors, GREAT GREEN HOMES, Home Design & Plans, Insulation

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights





Social Entrepreneur on the leading edge of best practices for the Tiny Home movement