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Scott Farbman: PHirst PHIUS Rehab Chicago

Last week we welcomed Scott Farbman, a building analyst from dbHMS, to walk through the first PHIUS Rehab project in Chicago. Beyond pursuing and achieving PHIUS certification, one of the major goals the team behind the rehab set for themselves was to see if could then sell the completed retrofit on the free market—which in this case was Ravenswood, a low-rise residential neighborhood in the city’s more affluent North Side. Spoiler alert: They accomplished both!

What will be of particular interest for those watching will be the fact that this was a renovation of a home that was over 100 years old and in a deep state of disrepair. More importantly, it was Scott’s first Passive House project. For those who are curious about what to expect while building (or retrofitting) to the standard and will likely have to deal with less than ideal circumstances, you may find Scott’s journey especially interesting.

Some specific details Scott explores are:

  • How to maintain continuous insulation and create a proper air seal around a foundation when full excavation isn’t feasible.

  • The unique challenges Chicago’s unique mechanical code and built environment poses to Passive House designers.

  • The importance of doing several pre-drywall blower door tests. As Scott said, “Every time we did a blower door we found new problems.”

You can watch Scott’s presentation in its entirety here:

Author
Jay Fox

Jay Fox

Jay Fox is a writer and musician based in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Crain’s New York, Salon, Stay Thirsty Magazine, Aethlon, and Fu...

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