Carmel Passive House

New single-family home

PHIUS+ Passive House, LEED Homes Platinum, Fine Homebuilding’s Best New Home 2013

Winning Best New Home of 2013 and labeled “Passive House Perfection” by Fine Homebuilding, this 1600-square foot farmhouse achieves the highest performance standards without sacrificing aesthetic standards. The owners “learned that good design and modern aesthetics were compatible with the kind of energy we were seeking and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Beyond Efficiency coached the team in resource-efficient framing, and builder Rob Nicely incorporated practices such as 24” stud spacing and appropriately sized insulated headers to reduce lumber costs, speed construction and maximize insulation. He planned ahead by pre-insulating components such as doubled I-joists to ensure an uninterrupted thermal boundary. To achieve the strict Passive House heating demand requirements, phase-change materials (PCMs) are installed behind drywall in walls and dropped ceilings to absorb the sun’s heat from large south-facing windows and release it for passive heating once temperatures cool down. PCMs provide temperature moderation and peak load shifting benefits that were traditionally available only in heavy, high-thermal mass materials. 

The house is designed to use about 70% less energy than its code-level counterpart. The homeowners have reported that temperatures remain very stable throughout the home, varying no more than 2 degrees from north to south and top to bottom.