The Scranton Passive House is north eastern Pennsylvania’s first house designed and constructed to meet the Passive House standard. The 2,150 square foot home is designed for a family of four. The owners are Christie Karpiak and Declan Mulhall. Christie and Declan are both professors at the University of Scranton, which is a short walk from their new home site. Christie is a PHD Associate Professor of Psychology and licensed psychologist while Declan teaches in the Physics department. Christie and Declan asked RPA to design a simple, functional, and energy efficient home where their family could grow. A Passive House is the perfect solution to meet their goals.
The site is a gently sloping city lot with east and south views and excellent access to free energy from the sun. The footprint is 28 x 36 feet. The efficient floor plan has an open kitchen, dining, and living space on the first floor with mudroom, office, powder room, laundry room, and mechanical room. The second floor is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a den. A generous front porch on the north side of the home is connected to a large screen porch on the northwest corner of the house. An arbor across the south side provides summer shading and a outdoor porch in the garden overlooking the neighborhood. A garden shed to the north west of the screened porch will someday be covered with solar panels to further reduce consumption of conventional energy.
The foundation is a concrete slab over 8” of Pennsylvania perlite over 12” of EPS insulation with an R value of R-76. The homes walls are advanced frame structural 2×4 interior service cavity with 11 7/8” TJI outrigger dense packed with cellulose to 4PSF for an R value of R-62. The roof is a 30” raised heel truss 24” OC with 24” of loose fill cellulose with an R value of R-86. The windows and exterior doors are Intus UPVC. The ventilation is an UltimateAir 200DX with a 9000 BTU Mitsubishi ductless minisplit providing point source heating and cooling. Air infiltration as of October 15, 2014 is 0.38ACH@50Pa. Construction started in May 2014. Completion is projected in January 2015.
Passive House is today’s most energy efficient building standard. Buildings that meet the Passive House standard use 80% less energy than conventional buildings. A Passive House conserves energy by creating a virtually air-tight, super insulated, compact building envelope that uses the sun and internal heat gains to achieve comfortable interior conditions. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is used to exchange fresh air and provide superior indoor air quality. (Click to enlarge diagram)