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The New Traditional - Passive Houses for Everyone

What do you picture when you think of "Passive House"


If you're like most people, you're envisioning a futuristic, ultra modern, minimalistic house. And you wouldn't be wrong! For so long "passive house" and "hyper modern" were one in the same and - while beautiful - made it rare for the average home owner to feel like a Passive House was within their grasp.



This is no more! Architect David Peabody of David Peabody Architects and builder Brandon O'Neill of O'Neill Development have teamed up to bring Passive House dreams into suburban reality!



Set in a suburban DC neighborhood, this house proves that a spec-built Passive House can compete successfully in the market side by side with traditionally styled American houses.


The choice of the American foursquare style solved a number of design challenges:

  • The nearly cubical form is ideal for a Passive House from the standpoint of surface/volume ratio.

  • Traditional American foursquares tend to be rather large, so it was a logical fit, allowing the designers to fit the amount of program required, without making the common mistake made in most latter day traditional homes of super-sizing the original model.

  • The large overhangs which are one of the hallmarks of the style work handily to deal with summer solar overheating.

  • No style could more powerfully prove the point that a Passive House can look traditionally American.


In the mid-Atlantic climate, summer over-heating is as large a challenge as winter solar gain. Solar issues were handled in this case by:

  • Deep roof overhangs protecting second floor windows, mentioned above;

  • A shallow porch on the south façade;

  • Motorized canvas awnings at all main west windows, capable of 100% shading when required;

  • High solar gain glass at north and south facing windows; low solar gain glass at east and west facing windows.


ArchitecturaLAB is committed to bringing Passive House architecture to the traditional consumer! Interested having your very own Passive House? Give us a call!






#passivehouse #sustainabledesign #sustainability #greenarchitecture #sustainablearchitecture #architecture #design #architect #building #homerenovation #renovation

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