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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May 18, 2012Eric Barton of Biltmore Insulated Concrete and Brandon Weiss of Weiss Building and Development are the builders, and top-notch builders they are--both Graduate Master Builders, Brandon is BPI certified, Eric is a Certified Passive House...read more
The River Forest house has been submitted to PHIUS for the PHIUS+ certification process, and I am occasionally asked what the incentive is--what are we getting for the $2700-ish in fees? The answer is twofold: 1.) expert review of the design; and 2.) third-party...read more
I'm excited to share that I'm designing a new house (planned to be certified by PHIUS) for a wonderful young family, with a great team of builders. The owners asked for a home that would not only be super-energy-efficient, but extremely strong as well. They want a...read more
I used to commute downtown to work, and would get on the El next to a freight line. On that line every morning ran trains with car after coal car full of coal. They were probably heading for the State Line Generation Plant, built in the '20's under order of Sam...read more
I've been using the Podium rendering engine inside SketchUp lately for a few projects in Evanston: This new kitchen in a Prairie Style house, and......this view showing a mudroom tile/railing/built-in transition. While both of these could get polished in Photoshop,...read more
We have just about completed construction on a house at 1122 Clinton Ave. in Oak Park, an ultra-efficient house designed using PHPP. Marko Spiegel of CTI and OneWatt Construction was the energy consultant and partner with Allen Drewes in the construction team. The...read more
Since completing the first half of Consultant Training, I worked on 3 new prototypes in an attempt to understand how to optimize Passive House design on what I now realize is a most challenging building type and site. First, the issue of compactness: a 20' house on 2...read more
I'm in Urbana at the Passive House Consultant Training course, and am quickly realizing that my early attempts at PHPP calculations were just scratching the surface. Also a case of knowing "just enough to be dangerous." To make the annual heat requirement, I...read more
This is a continuation of previous discussion of the thermal envelope design per the Passive House Planning Package. The initial design studies were boxes, for simplicity and for efficient use of the narrow site. But does the passive house need to look boxy? Of...read more
This is the follow-up to my first post. In PHPP I decided my first objective would be to analyze the thermal shell: overall building orientation, window, roof, and wall R-values, surface-to-volume ratio, window areas, window shading, etc., which all feed into a...read more
Most of us architects go into the field because of our love of design. As youngsters we visited a beautiful building or city, or in my case, picked up a book on Frank Lloyd Wright (in high school), have been building with blocks/legos/couch cushions in endless...read more
Here's a big question about architectural design: Should building form start with a sculptural idea/preconception about "style," or should it follow from something more rigorous? A leading question, of course. If only we had a tool that would provide a clear and...read more