Chicago Passive House Listed in the Passive House Database

The Ellis Passive House, which was the first PHI certified passive house in Chicago, is now officially listed in the international Passive House database.

The Passive House database is a joint project of the Passive House Institute, the Passivhaus Dienstleistung GmbH, the IG Passivhaus Deutschland and the iPHA (International Passive House Association) and contains a detailed overview of realized Passive Houses from around the world.

In this case, the antiquated 1890s greystone was renovated by Kenwood Construction Services with ZeroEnergy Design providing Passive House Consulting and Mechanical Design. The Passive House EnerPHit certified project is an excellent example of the renovation possibilities for an aging, residential masonry building. It proves that families who wish to live in a sustainable city home need not be limited by the age of the building nor do they have to compromise on style, space or comfort.

The Ellis Passive House was also recently featured on the Treehugger website for its impressive performance throughout the past winter.


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.


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.