Leaders in the fields of green architecture and sustainable design, we share our thoughts and experiences on current projects and our philosophies on design and performance.

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From the Field: Insulation and Windows

Here’s an update for the Oak Park home in construction–it’s been a busy time with roofing, insulation, overhangs, exterior insulation, weather barrier, and windows. First thing after the air barrier (Prosoco, the pink stuff painted on the outside of... read more

From the Field: Framing the “Right-Sized” Oak Park home

Framing is great fun to watch–it goes up fast, and in a few weeks you go from having drawings to being able to walk through real enclosure of space. It’s like the week after Halloween to an architect: lots of eye candy! Evolutionary Home Builders has been... read more

Manifesto: the new American dwelling

The single-family home is a great American dream, one that so many of us have been fortunate to share; but as our attitudes and awareness grow and shift, so do the definitions of that dream. It’s time to redefine, to clarify what we’re after. It’s... read more

Manifesto follow-up: three designs

So what does this new dwelling look like? Well, of course, it could take endless form; but to provide a prototypical starting point, I created a series of designs using American housing typologies. By starting with the familiar, we can appreciate both the timeless and... read more

River Forest Passive House final photos

At last! Eric Hausman took these in late summer, but I had to hold off making them public until some publications happened.  Dwell website, Green Builder Magazine, Tribune, Crain’s, to name a few…it’s been a good run in the press.  Awards... read more

Quick follow-up

The Lemas have been in the house since January (moved in the coldest week of the year!), and have been extremely gracious to allow us team members to bring over clients and even take over the house for a weekend to participate in the GreenBuilt Home Tour this past... read more

Finishes inside and out under way

Brandon Weiss continues to keep the schedule flowing.  It seems almost magical that a house like this can be built to this level of quality in about 7 months.  upper family room with light shelf back yard, landscape in! paneling going up in alcove (piano... read more

Exterior finishes

The driveway has been poured (though it’s under blankets due to the cool weather), the siding is up, and the gabions are installed: almost there! Entry view: the door is unveiled at last! Feels good as an architect to see the building appearing as drawn and... read more

Pictures, Sept. 26

Here are some updated pictures I took for my presentation at the Passive House Conference last weekend in Denver.  More soon! front–brick just installed living/dining space looking east to stair from stair to west (back of house) exterior rear of house You... read more

Blower door did not suck

There are too many bad jokes to be made about blower doors…I couldn’t resist. This is just a very quick post to announce the our PHIUS+ rater, Andy Scott of Energistics, came to the site this week and performed the preliminary blower door test.  As... read more

Heating and cooling the Passive House

One of the main qualities of a Passive House building is that the mechanical loads are so reduced that you only need a tiny system for heating and cooling.  Even for this relatively big house, there is no conventional furnace/AC small enough that it... read more

Ventilation for the Passive House

One of the qualities of a Passive House is that the construction is nearly airtight., so to allow the house to “breathe” we use an energy-recovery-ventilator (or heat-recovery ventilator).  Yes, houses need to “breathe”, or more... read more

Passive House window installation in ICF

We learned a lot about windows…hence this post to pass it on.First, we priced a number of European windows that would work for our demands: we needed glass at about U=.09, frames at about U=.15, solar heat gain coefficient of .5, and insulating spacers.  We... read more

Interior renderings

Here is some eye candy. It’s fun to think of these while standing in the house now (with 10 tradesmen working hard all around).  You’ll see a number of light coves–we’re using T5 fluorescent strip lights, which are extremely efficient;... read more

Roof is raised

Biltmore continues to move at their good and steady pace.  The roof went on a few weeks ago, followed quickly by interior framing.  But first, the ceiling air barrier was installed.  Every airtight house (and Passive Houses are the ultimate airtight... read more

Construction moving apace

Biltmore is cruising on the ICFs, floor framing, and had a concrete pour last week–basement and garage slabs are in! Front of house, ICFs to mid-2nd floor level Basement–plenty of light! Note Stegowrap coming up walls Back of house from... read more

ICFs going up

Biltmore Insulated Concrete is erecting the Logix ICF walls and installing bucks for window openings: view from street airtightness tape at buck corners The first concrete pour is scheduled for... read more

Professional photos of 1122 Clinton

Eric Hausman photographed 4 projects for me, including 1122 Clinton.  He’s great to work with, and I’m very happy with what he was able to do for me– fun to work with, efficient, and detail oriented.  Here are some low-res images: front... read more