Chicago Passive House

The Ellis Passive House is the first PHI Certified Passive House in Chicago. Kenwood Construction Services and ZeroEnergy Design transformed the antiquated 1890s rowhome into a resilient, urban, green living environment with increased natural light, thermal comfort, exceptional energy performance, low carbon footprint, and healthy indoor air quality – all while preserving the existing external facade.

The super-insulated air tight building enclosure includes masonry walls with dense pack cellulose and continuous exterior mineral wool and polyiso insulation that provides R-34, a roof assembly of R-61 that combines dense-packed cellulose in the rafter cavity and continuous mineral wool and polyisocyanurate rigid insulation outbound of the roof sheathing, R-36 under the basement concrete slab, and building details to mitigate all thermal bridging. High performance U-0.13 triple pane windows/doors offer a SHGC-glass of 0.61 to capture solar energy. The interior of the masonry walls and underside of the roof rafters were taped and sealed to serve as the primary air barrier, yielding a final infiltration rate of only 0.65 ACH50.

An air source heat pump and an energy recovery ventilator ensure that the house remains thermally comfortable in all weather conditions and has a constant supply of fresh, clean air throughout the year. A heat pump hot water heater, Energy Star appliances, induction cooking, heat pump dryer, and LED lighting complete the high-efficiency package.

With the planned future installation of solar panels, the Ellis Passivhaus is anticipated to achieve net zero energy, producing as much energy as it consumes annually.

For more details, visit Chicago Passive House.

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