The homeowners wanted to reduce their carbon footprint and were drawn to Passive House design for its energy savings and the interior comfort it provides. As the engineer owner put it: “I want to be an old man, but not a cold old man!” He and his wife realized a Passive House retrofit could provide the energy efficiency and long-term comfort they wanted, and so much more.
The project was a complete gut retrofit of a duplex in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The homeowners have deep interests in art and music, and were looking for a space to enjoy and showcase those passions. They wanted an open floor plan with lots of light and a streamlined interior.
The biggest structural challenge was adding a staircase to connect the two former residences. Walls were removed and reconfigured to combine lots of little rooms into the desired open space. In the basement a high ceiling height allowed the installation of a fully insulated and raised floor, giving the owners additional usable space.