Passive House


Forbes magazine writer Regina Cole crafts an article about New England high-end homeowner’s interest beyond style and beauty - a growing interest in energy.

The article offers design insights from prominent New England architects, including Stephanie Horowitz, Managing Director at ZeroEnergy Design who shares, “Our clients are well schooled in matters of energy conservation; they come to us with a high level of knowledge.”

Stephanie notes that eco-conscious clients interested in gardening often look for basement root cellars to augment upstairs food storage as part of their general goal towards resiliency and self-sufficiency - ZED’s Farmstead Passive House in Vermont is a good example. She also mentions that Passive House, which advocates rigorous standards for energy efficiency in buildings, is particularly suitable for New England’s cold weather conditions.

The full article is linked below.


Treehugger Story on Chicago Passive House Performance During Polar Vortex

Top sustainability website, Treehugger, recently published a story on how the Ellis Passive House in Illinois, Chicago, performed flawlessly during the polar vortex event of 2019, maintaining consistent indoor temperatures of >71 F with minimal increase in kWh demand, thereby proving the inherent resilience of the Passive House standard. Mike Conners of Kenwood Construction Services, the builder on the project, had earlier published a detailed report on the resilience and efficiency exhibited by the Ellis Passive House in the face of the extreme weather conditions.

The Ellis Passive House was originally constructed in the 1890s. It underwent a thorough renovation for modern, green living with ZeroEnergy Design acting as the Certified Passive House Consultant and mechanical designer for the project. It is the first PHI Certified Passive House in Illinois and exemplifies the possibilities of passive house retrofits for older residential masonry buildings in urban settings.


ZED is a Proud Sponsor of 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston Conference


ZeroEnergy Design is honored to be a sponsor of the 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). As the region’s premier event for professionals in the fields of high-performance building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, the BuildingEnergy Boston conference brings together more than 1,500 attendees from dozens of professions and industries to share ideas and learn from each other. The interdisciplinary content and audience sets the BuildingEnergy Boston conference apart from other green building conferences and encourages broader discussions and a whole-systems approach to the challenges facing the built environment.


EVENT: BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show

LOCATION: The Westin Boston Waterfront,
425 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210

DATES: March 14-15, 2019

The theme for 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston is Know-How. The session line-up will focus on practical skills and immediately applicable knowledge, including ongoing innovations, recent lessons learned, and important skills. The trade show floor will showcase the products and services of over 100 industry leaders and offer attendees the chance to observe cutting-edge technology and grow their client base.

Founded in 1974, the NESEA is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment. ZED is a longtime NESEA Business Member and a BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Member.


PassivHaus Maine Aims to Spread Awareness about Historic Retrofits


In an article published in MaineBiz last week, Naomi Beal, executive director of PassivHaus Maine, a non-profit organization that works to support the passive house industry and community in Maine, said that Passive House retrofits of historic buildings could be the new frontier.

Passive House retrofits of historic buildings present several challenges like exterior appearance, interior logistics concerning installation of ventilation and delivery systems, the complexity of insulating brick exteriors, and so on. PassivHaus Maine hopes that their winter lecture “Historical Retrofits: A Path to Passive House” will spread awareness about how historical retrofits are being completed in other cities like Philadelphia and Boston. While Passive House construction is gradually gaining traction in Maine, there hasn’t yet been a passive house retrofit of a historic building.

The conference is tonight, Feb 25, 5-6.30 p.m. at Mechanics Hall, Portland. Three experts, including ZeroEnergy Design’s John Mucciarone, will speak about their experiences in historical passive house retrofits and answer the audience’s questions. John will discuss a Victoria-era Boston rowhome that was retrofitted by ZED for modern living and energy efficiency while preserving the original architectural details.



ZED’s John Mucciarone to present case study at PassivHaus Maine Lecture

John Mucciarone, Senior Project Manager, ZeroEnergy Design

John Mucciarone, Senior Project Manager, ZeroEnergy Design, will share his experience in historic retrofits at an upcoming lecture organized by Passivhaus Maine. The event will also include architects Oliver Klein of 475 and Jeremy Avellino of Bright Common.

EVENT: The Historic Retrofits: A Path to Passive House

LOCATION: Mechanics Hall, Portland, ME

TIME: 5PM February 25, 2019

The lecture will address major challenges such as exterior appearance, preservation of original features, the complexity of insulating brick exteriors, ventilation, installation of delivery systems, and sourcing of materials that affect the renovations of historic buildings in Maine and other communities.

John will present his case study of a Victorian-era row house in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The historic brownstone was redesigned by ZeroEnergy Design’s experts for modern living and energy efficiency while preserving its original architectural details.


The event will also have a Q & A session for the audience to interact with the speakers.

John has over 19 years of experience as an architect and has worked on the design and construction of single-family residences, multi-family housing, small institutional buildings, and academic buildings. He is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a LEED Accredited Professional. 

Passivhaus Maine is a non-profit organization committed to decreasing carbon emissions, dependency on fossil fuels, and the costs for winter heating in Maine. It works to support the passive house industry and community in Maine, North America and internationally.



Illinois Gets Its First Passive House Institute Certified Home

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After a thorough renovation and completing a rigorous review process, Ellis Passivhaus in Chicago becomes the first Passive House Institute certified home in Illinois.

A development of Kenwood Construction Services with the Passive House consulting services of  ZeroEnergy Design, the Ellis Passivhaus transforms an antiquated 1890’s rowhome into a progressive, urban, green living environment.  

The newly renovated home now provides exceptional energy performance, healthy indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and long term resilience, all within a Chicago row house aesthetic.  


New Book: Passive House Rising to New Heights

The newest Passive House case study book, titled From Small to Extra Large, Passive House Rising to New Heights, has just been released and is free to download!

Great Passive House cases of all scales are included, from single family homes to large multi-family buildings.

Be sure to review ZeroEnergy Design's Passive House consulting cases on:

  • Pages 62-63 with Architect: The Turrett Collaborative

  • Pages 78-79 and 82-83 with Paul A. Castrucci, Architect

  • Pages 84-85 as a ZED firm profile

  • Page 100 with Jane Sanders Architect


LG releases Passive House article

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ZeroEnergy Design (ZED) is pleased that LG, the South Korean multinational manufacturing company offering air source heat pumps and other electronics, just released an article about high performance homes and buildings entitled: "Passive House Is Creating a New Standard for Efficiency". 

The article references three Passive House examples including:

Two ZED consulting projects:
- Hollis Montessori School (Architecture by Windy Hill Associates)
- ABC No Rio Offices & Gallery (Architecture by Paul A. Castrucci Architect)

One ZED architecture project:
- New England Passive House Retreat

ZED encourages widespread adoption of Passive House levels of building performance, and is pleased to cooperate with LG in educating the company's audiences.



Passive House Details Book

ZED is pleased to announce that 'Passive House Details: Solutions for High-Performance Design' is now available for pre-order on Amazon or direct from Routledge (the publisher).  

Authored by Donald B. Corner, Jan C. Fillinger and Alison G. Kwok, the new textbook provide design goals, research, analysis, systems, details, and inspiring images of some of the most energy-efficient, carbon-neutral, healthy, and satisfying buildings currently built in the region - including the ZED's certified Passive House Hollis Montessori School.  (Passive House consulting and mechanical design by ZED. Architecture by Windy Hill Associates.)




Free Passive House Book

A #FREE #PassiveHouse book of project case studies!

Just released, Passive House Buildings: New England Forges Ahead, is a collaboration between the Passive House groups from Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts to publish this collection of high performance, regional case studies. 

The book includes ZeroEnergy Design's involvement with 8 separate project cases!



Passive House Accelerates

The largest Passive House conference in North America, the NAPHN16 Conference & Expo, included a conference program book: Passive House Accelerates which is available online. 

The book provides an overview of the conference and the people, companies, and institutions making Passive House a reality today, including an interview with ZeroEnergy Design's Jordan Goldman.



2016 Passive House Symposium Success!

2016 Passive House Symposium was a resounding success! Speakers, vendors, and attendees all gathered at District Hall in Boston for a full day of amazing content and knowledge sharing.   Panels covered a variety of topics, including the legislative process, selling Passive homes, wall sections, and multifamily buildings.


Below from left to right:  Panelists  Senator William Brownsberger, Emily Norton, Masschusetts Chapter Director of the Sierra Club, and Eugenia Gibbons, Clean Energy Program Director of the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance.

Below:  Panel moderator Stephanie Horowitz, member of Passive House Massachusetts Board of Directors, and Managing Director of ZeroEnergy Design.

Below: Keynote speaker Ken Levinson, President of New York Passive House.

Stephanie Horowitz Moderates AIA New England Passive House Panel

At the up-coming AIA New England 2016 Regional Conference, ZeroEnergy Design's Stephanie Horowitz will be moderating the panel:  PASSIVE HOUSE AND MAINE - How did a small rural state become a national design leader in energy efficiency?

The workshop panel will focus explore architects and builders in Maine as early adopters of the German energy efficiency standard, and their holistic architecture that raises technical performance to the same level as aesthetic design.


Now a Certified Passive House Consultant!

ZeroEnergy Design is proud to announce that Matthew Genaze is now a Certified Passive House Consultant!

The Passive House standard represents exceptional energy performance for homes and buildings. To become a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC), professionals must take comprehensive online and in-class instruction, including energy modeling, hygrothermal modeling, and rigorous testing.  67% of ZED design staff are now CPHCs.

As a Project Manager & Designer at ZeroEnergy Design, Matthew regularly utilizes his Passive House skill set.  He recently completed the design of a new zero energy home in Newton, MA, and is now overseeing it's construction, as well as working on several other high performance projects.