Professional collaborations for Passive House and DOE Net Zero Ready Certification
We have had a number of successful collaborations with architects and engineers who have needed help in taking a project to Passive House or DOE NZR certification. These projects include Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) multifamily housing projects, single family houses, the first Living Building Challenge house in the region, and the retrofitting of a DC Landmark building. In each case, our services have been structured to fit with client needs. In some cases this involves complete building envelope and HVAC documentation; in others it can be limited to review of a colleague’s general strategy and mark-up of construction details. A reference list of professionals with whom we have worked is available upon request.
Stay or Go?
Often a client will come to us not knowing whether it makes sense to stay in their present house and renovate it, or simply move on and find another house. These are complex choices, involving more than simply architectural issues. While we cannot help much with the emotional and real estate aspects of the equation, we can help quantify and rationalize the architectural issues. We begin by looking at the things about the present house that are frustrating the client and coming up with very diagrammatic architectural solutions, each with an estimate of probable cost. This allows the client to look at the spectrum of what they can get for what costs. We recommend that at the same time we are studying the present home, the client also work with a realtor to evaluate what they can get on the market for the same dollars. With this two-pronged approach the answers usually come into focus fairly quickly. In some cases the client decides to sell and our work is done; in others they decide to renovate, in which case we simply continue the design process that we have begun.
We also consult with homeowners who want to make energy upgrades but aren’t certain of what to do and how to prioritize. Our work can be simply a few hours of time meeting with the client and connecting them with good subcontractors. Or if the project is more involved and requires a general contractor and building permit, we will provide drawings and specifications as required.