Philadelphia marks first Passive House certified town homes

Philadelphia marks first Passive House certified town homes

Soon families will be moving into the row of single-family townhouses that are the first Passive House-certified homes in Philadelphia.

The goal of the community was to provide people with high-quality sustainable design and homes consuming up to 90 percent less energy than comparable homes. The project will also be net-zero energy and will take advantages of solar technologies to supplement its already low energy demands. 

“We like to think this way because most developers don’t,” said Timothy McDonald, a principal at Onion Flats, award winning sustainable architects, developers, and builders building the community in a joint venture partnership with Domani Developers.

Designed on the prevalent Philadelphia row house typology, the project begins with one of the most efficient urban forms of dwelling, which also makes it an ideal model for modular manufacturing. The first three structures above the foundations were built in a modular factory while the foundations were constructed on site. This fast track process reduced construction time by 50 percent.

The homes themselves are built to Passive House standards. The super energy efficiency will reached by combining many factors together which will lead to super air tight and efficient envelopes.

Special attention was paid to creating a building that uses a minimum of resources, generating its own power from a 4.23 kilowatt solar array, and includes a 95 percent permeable site including green roofs and porous paving for managing storm water.

Super insulated walls (R-34) and roof (R-52) combined with triple pane super-efficient Intus Windows and doors (R-8) play huge role while pursuing for Passive house standards.

House energy monitoring system installation in every house will help homeowners to be a part of the ongoing process and follow energy consumption in their home. Super insulated exterior envelopes will significantly reduce the need for heating and cooling and thus decrease the overall operating costs. Combining all those factors together the project will reach its goal and reduce its environmental impact almost to zero.

“The houses are going to be completely energy sufficient by themselves, occupants will be responsible for energy use–what’s called net-zero energy possible,” McDonald said.

Read more about Great Green Homes.

Topics: Certification / LEED, GREAT GREEN HOMES, Passive House

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