Fishtown Passive House

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cost-efficient + energy-efficient Passive House

Three big ideas:

Passive Design,
Urban Corner,

The developer/builder of this Passive House wanted to push the intersection of better design / lower cost. Working closely with the builder, Re:Vision designed around typical dimensions for key elements such as framing, concrete forms, and cladding to reduce cost and waste while improving quality through cleaner joints.  The devil really is in the details, such as an entry console that incorporates a bench/shoe storage, A/V display, and energy monitoring display.  In a neighborhood dealing with rapid change, residents responded positively to a ‘warmer modernism.’  A super-insulated envelope, ducted mini-splits, and solar array make the home net-zero energy for core operations (without plug loads).  An architect purchased the home and is recording utility bills less than $50/month.  

Fast Facts


2kW rooftop photovoltaic array

100% fresh air ventilation system

Net-zero energy for core operations

Double framed R-41 exterior walls and R-82 roof with continuous insulation

High-performance triple pane windows

1.5 ton heat pump for 2,100sf is more than 50% smaller than industry standard

Passive House Certified

Passive What?

Passive House is an international standard for energy efficiency in buildings.  It is achieved through a combination of several factors:

  • Optimized and continuous building insulation
  • High-performance windows and doors
  • Reduced thermal bridging
  • Increased airtightness
  • Balanced ventilation with heat recovery

Passive Houses provide superior air quality while being ultra-energy efficient, thermally comfortable, and quiet (a valuable trait in an urban environment).

But it’s not enough to just design for Passive House – you have to prove it by passing rigorous on-site construction testing.  The Fishtown passive house passed with flying colors beating the air tightness standards by close to 20%!

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