Allen Residence

Yardley, Pennsylvania

Energy-efficient home with off-the-shelf products and systems

In three words:

Passive Design,
Age-In-Place,
Nature Focused

As newspaper publishers, the Allens have a deadline-driven schedule and were looking for a low-maintenance, low-carbon place of respite. Coming from a large but dark 1970s suburban home, they craved light, openness, and connection to nature.  Perched on a wooded north-facing slope overlooking a canal, the site required a design that could balance competing interests for northern views with ample southern exposure for light and warmth. The lower south-facing roof is designed for photovoltaic panels, which, when installed, will supply most, if not all of the home’s annual energy needs.  With a modest custom-home budget, the design team optimized the architecture for minimal waste and used off-the-shelf products and technologies in creative ways to achieve performance targets for Passive House air tightness.

Fast Facts

Off-the-shelf products and materials were used with Passive House design and detailing strategies

Blower Door Testing was performed during construction and utilized to chase air leaks and ensure air tightness

With the slope and view facing to the north, the site is opposite of true passive design, which orients to the south

The roof was designed with a split gable to bring light from the south to the north half of the house

““The project feels “grounded” to me, like the house belongs there, like we belong there. This process has been a good journey. It started with a great choice of an environmentally focused architectural firm and a great builder with quality subcontractors. I can’t believe how much I've learned about what is in a home from the bones to the skin. We will live thoughtfully within her.” ”

– Donna Allen

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